Walden pitches way into Opening Day plans

Veteran righty records seventh scoreless Grapefruit League outing

Walden pitches way into Opening Day plans

JUPITER, Fla. -- After a weeklong layoff to alleviate tightness around his right shoulder, Jordan Walden pitched his way back into the Cardinals' Opening Day plans with a scoreless inning in Monday's 3-1 win over the Mets..

Assuming Walden, who has had seven scoreless Grapefruit League outings, recovers well from this outing and pitches without issue in his next scheduled appearance on Wednesday, the right-hander is expected to be a part of the Cardinals' bullpen when the season opens on Sunday. The club hadn't been so sure of his status in recent days.

"We haven't made any question about the way we think about his stuff," manager Mike Matheny said of Walden, who struck out two and worked around a pair of defensive plays not made behind him. "It's just about his health. I think he's in a good place."

While Walden made progress on Monday, Yadier Molina had his schedule put on pause. Molina dropped a weight on his right foot and had to have a bruised toe examined by the medical staff. There was no fracture, Matheny announced, and Molina could return to the lineup as early as Tuesday.

"Everything is clear," Matheny said. "He'll be fine."

Molina has been playing regularly since passing all necessary strength tests related to his recovering left wrist. He had appeared in five of the team's last seven games, going 3-for-14 during that stretch. He has been working through timing issues with his swing after not being cleared to hit for the first two weeks of camp.

Cardinals complete double play

Worth noting

• Matheny and the four players who make up the team's leadership core -- Adam Wainwright, Molina, Matt Holliday and Matt Carpenter -- missed batting practice and the rest of the team's morning workout because of an extended meeting in which they discussed team rules and clubhouse issues. Matheny, who later invited other players to offer opinions in the approximate three-hour meeting, described the session as productive.

"We just have those meetings right before we break, try to get all the loose ends and any questions answered," Matheny said. "We're very committed to making things better. [If] we're into something good and if we're into something that can make a difference, than we're just going to back out of whatever else we're doing."

Kolten Wong, who came out of Saturday's game early due to a left knee bruise, went 1-for-3 in his return to the lineup on Monday.

• The Cardinals will travel to Pittsburgh following Thursday's spring game in Tampa, though starters Jaime Garcia and Carlos Martinez will not be joining them. Garcia is expected to throw in a Minor League game on Friday, and Martinez will do the same on Saturday so that each has one final tuneup before the regular season opens.

• The Cardinals announced plans to hold a 90-minute Q&A session with Hall of Famer Whitey Herzog at Busch Stadium on May 16. Tickets to the event are $225 and can be purchased at cardinals.com/whitey.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.