John Gall's almost interminable wait is almost over. Larry Walker is probably about to begin a much shorter, but likely no less frustrating, wait of his own.
Gall, who has been playing in the high Minors for the Cardinals since 2002, is expected to be added to the Major League roster on Tuesday when St. Louis takes on the Padres at PETCO Park. Gall will likely be recalled to take the place of Walker, who would be placed on the disabled list due to a herniated disk in his neck.
Gall was scheduled to travel with the team to California on Monday, though no move will officially be made until Tuesday because of the off-day in the schedule. Walker has been battling soreness in his neck all season, and he has already undergone two cortisone injections to ease the discomfort.
It is possible that St. Louis will make another move, sending out another player in order to add Gall to the roster, while trying to buy some time and avoiding sidelining Walker for 15 days. However, the most likely plan will be to place Walker on the DL, allowing him to recuperate, and add Gall to the roster.
Walker struggled through May and much of June as he battled a series of maladies. However, after the last cortisone treatment in his neck, he took off on his best offensive stretch of the season. He's hitting .340 with a .415 on-base percentage and .553 slugging percentage in July, but he sat out the last two games of St. Louis's weekend series against the Cubs.
Should Walker go on the DL, he would become the fourth Cardinals regular on the shelf. Yadier Molina has been out since early July with a broken bone in his hand, Reggie Sanders has a broken leg and will be out for at least three more weeks and Scott Rolen was recently placed back on the DL due to continuing soreness in his left shoulder.
Gall, 27, has spent most of the last 2 1/2 seasons at Triple-A Memphis. He's a polished, line-drive hitter with solid strike zone judgment. He doesn't have outstanding power, but has a plan at the plate. The Cardinals have asked him to improve his defense in the outfield, and most reports are that he has made progress. As of Monday morning, he was batting .270/.339/.438 (batting average/on-base/slugging) with 10 home runs, 17 doubles and 47 RBIs for Memphis.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.