St. Louis Cardinals closer Jason Motte will likely start the season on the disabled list because of a muscle flexor strain in his right arm.

Motte underwent an MRI exam on Friday after complaining of a tight arm following a spring training outing on Thursday.

"We're certainly going to be as aggressive as we can with the rehab, but in terms of DL, I would say that's likely going to happen," said Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak. "Fingers were crossed that it would be something that wouldn't land him on the DL, but it likely will."

Motte agreed to a multi-year contract in January. He tied for the National League lead with 42 saves last season while posting a 2.75 earned run average over 67 appearances.

The previous season, Motte took over as the Cardinals' closer and recorded five saves during the team's run to the 2011 World Series title.

Motte broke into the majors with the Cardinals in 2008 and has compiled 54 saves, a 17-13 record and a 2.87 ERA over 282 games during that five-year span.