Walden may pitch before All-Star break

Cardinals prospect Gonzales nearing action in Minors games

Walden may pitch before All-Star break

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak on Friday left open the possibility that setup reliever Jordan Walden could pitch again before the All-Star break. But it is less likely that left-hander Marco Gonzales would be an option by that point.

Walden, who has been on the disabled list since early May with a right shoulder strain, began throwing earlier this week, and Gonzales is preparing to begin a rehab assignment in Florida while also dealing with a right shoulder issue. Mozeliak said Gonzales could pitch in Minor League games by the end of the month.

Gonzales underwent an MRI after feeling discomfort in his left shoulder while playing catch on May 23 and was diagnosed with a shoulder impingement. The left-hander, ranked as the club's No. 2 prospect by MLB.com, has started six games for Triple-A Memphis this season. Since the diagnosis, Gonzales has spent time working with the Cardinals' training staff.

"He was feeling great and appreciated his time here working with our medical staff, and now it's off to Florida, and I think he's excited about that," Mozeliak said.

Mozeliak announced in May that Walden was expected to be shut down for 6-10 weeks. The All-Star Game on July 14 would be one day shy of 10 weeks since that announcement.

Walden described the rehab process as "slow" on Friday, but he said it is going as planned so far.

"Whatever they have me doing in there is pretty much my schedule," Walden said. "Hopefully [returning] before the All-Star break would be awesome. That's what I'm shooting for."

David Cobb is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.