Two months to the day after the Cardinals signed closer Jason Motte to a two-year deal and deeded him the ninth inning, the club learned...

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JUPITER, Fla. — Two months to the day after the Cardinals signed closer Jason Motte to a two-year deal and deeded him the ninth inning, the club learned it would start the season without him.

Motte felt a bite in his right elbow after pitching Thursday and was diagnosed with a strain of the flexor tendon, an injury that will keep him out indefinitely. The club Saturday classified the injury as a “mild” tear or stretching of the tendon. Further examination of the joint in the coming days will determine the precise severity as the club did not have a timetable for Motte’s rehab and what point he could try throwing again.

“Right now it’s going to slow him down, but we’re certainly going to be as aggressive as we can with the rehab,” general manager John Mozeliak said. “Fingers were crossed it wouldn’t be something that lands him on the (disabled list), but it likely will.”

Setup reliever Mitchell Boggs will now close.

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Lincecum struggles

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Tim Lincecum’s long locks are gone and apparently so is his nasty stuff.

The San Francisco Giants’ two-time Cy Young Award winner struggled again in his fourth start of the spring. The right-hander gave up five runs and six hits in three-plus innings, including a long homer to Yoenis Cespedes, as the Oakland Athletics defeated the Giants 12-5.

Lincecum is 0-2 with a 10.97 ERA. The former Huskies star expects to make one more start before he slides into the rotation at No. 3, behind right-hander Matt Cain and lefty Madison Bumgarner. But a few more outings like Saturday’s might have Giants manager Bruce Bochy pondering whether to move Lincecum to the bullpen, where he excelled in the postseason last year.

“I had some good moments and some bad ones,” said Lincecum, who threw 80 pitches. “I still need to try to get my pitch count up. But I am not finishing guys off. I had a good fastball, but it all goes back to location.

“It’s all a matter of repeating my mechanics.”


Chris Getz will open the season as the Royals’ starting second baseman after outplaying Johnny Giavotella in a closely monitored competition throughout spring training. After beating the Diamondbacks 11-10 in Surprise, Ariz., the Royals improved to 20-6-1, matching 2011 (20-10-1) for their second-most spring-training victories.

Brandon Morrow allowed four of his five runs in the fifth inning during the Toronto Blue Jays’ 10-5 loss to an Atlanta Braves split squad in Dunedin, Fla. Morrow gave up eight hits in 5-1/3 innings. The former Mariner has allowed 15 runs over 15 innings in five starts.

Andy Pettitte stuck out five over 6-1/3 innings in his longest outing as the New York Yankees lost to the Detroit Tigers 10-6 in Lakeland, Fla. Pettitte allowed four runs and eight hits.

Bryce Harper was scratched from the Washington Nationals’ lineup because of swelling in his left hand.

• Colorado Rockies left-hander Jorge De La Rosa missed his scheduled start against the San Diego Padres because of a tight left forearm.

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