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Levine: Motte Could Add Veteran Leadership In Cubs Bullpen

By Bruce Levine--

MESA, Ariz. (CBS) -- Not too long ago Jason Motte was pitching in the World Series for the St. Louis Cardinals. Today, Motte is making his way back from injury and hoping to re-establish himself as a quality bullpen man again.

The Cubs relievers seem to be long in talent and short on experience. Motte could add the perfect blend of veteran leadership to the promising yet still evolving Cubs pen.

"This seems like the perfect time for me and some of the other new guys to be Cubs," Motte said. "We are excited about the guys we have in this clubhouse. We have a good group of guys on and off the field."

Motte is working his way back from arm surgery that caused him to miss the entire 2013 campaign. He returned to the Cardinals last season and pitched in 29 games, not really proving much except good health.

"I feel great so far," he said. "I am one of those guys who likes to get after it early so if I have to back off, I will. I have been looking at hitters in the box this week and that helps the adrenaline get going for me."

Having saved 42 games in 2012, Motte gives closer Hector Rondon and the rest of his bullpen mates some much needed backup. His knowledge in what it takes to win meaningful games during big series may prove invaluable.

"After six years you learn a lot about the game," he said. "The one thing you learn, becoming a tight unit is essential in wining together. In St Louis we had 25 guys behind each other always rooting for you. It did not matter if you were the ace number one guy, or the 25th man, you had the same support."
Motte has heard that the Cubs are trying to replicate the way St Louis has developed and gotten the best from its players, throughout the last century.

"We always had good players over there," Motte related. "Over there a confidence is built up. When someone goes down the next guy called up is confident and ready to step in. That is what they are taught over there. I believe here we can all learn from each other and get a nicely knit thing going. We have guys from other places like Lester, Montero, Ross, Hammels. Everybody can share things and help all of us get better every day."

Motte signed a $4.5 million one year deal with the Cubs in December.

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