Despite Tony LaRussa's demurrals on the question of naming a Cardinals closer, Jason Motte will open the season as the team's bullpen ace. That's according to Al Hrabosky, a Cardinals closer himself - "the Mad Hungarian" - back in the 1970s and since then a longtime Cardinals broadcaster.
LaRussa told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch several days ago that he would not name a closer entering the 2009 season. However, during the pre-game show of the Twins-Cardinals Spring Training game today, Twins broadcaster Dan Gladden relayed his conversation with Hrabosky. Motte, Hrabosky told Gladden, will be the closer and will get most of the save opportunities, LaRussa's recalcitrance notwithstanding.
Motte has pitched very well in Spring Training, locking down saves, and posting outstanding strikeout-to-IP ratios.
Hrabosky did not disclose to Gladden his source for reporting that the closer job is Motte's.