Righty will visit doctor, opening bullpen spot for Lyons, Bowman
By Steve Dorsey
Special to MLB.com |
JUPITER, Fla. -- Sometimes the results don't paint the complete picture, as Cardinals manager Mike Matheny can attest following the disappointing news he received Wednesday afternoon regarding Jordan Walden.
Walden pitched another scoreless inning of relief in the Cardinals' 3-0 win against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium. Upon reaching the dugout, however, Walden informed Matheny that he didn't "feel real good." After the game, Matheny told reporters that Walden again was experiencing discomfort in his right throwing shoulder and will not be part of the team's 25-man roster for Opening Day in Pittsburgh on Sunday.
Walden said that it's the same discomfort and tightness that he experienced earlier in Spring Training that caused him to miss a few days of throwing. It's uncertain when Walden, who was expected to be a key contributor in the bullpen, will be cleared to return.
"My shoulder's not where it needs to be, and I guess I'm going to need some more time," Walden said as the Cardinals packed their bags following the team's final Grapefruit League game at Roger Dean Stadium. "[I'll] go get it looked at. I don't think it's anything serious."
The Cardinals, however, want to know as soon as possible what is causing Walden's recent shoulder woes. Senior Vice President and General Manager John Mozeliak said that Walden will catch a flight to Dallas on Thursday and see a doctor there on Friday to assess the problem.
Walden retired all three batters at the top of the Marlins' lineup he faced on Wednesday in the sixth inning. He has pitched eight scoreless innings this spring, allowing only five hits with one walk with eight strikeouts. His 14-pitch outing Wednesday was similar to his previous seven appearances this spring, which makes the news regarding his shoulder so baffling to Matheny.
"He felt good today. Felt real good yesterday [after pitching Monday]," Matheny said. "As I was watching him, I'm thinking, 'This looks good.' It's frustrating for him, to get to where he is right now."
Walden missed the final five months of the 2015 season with a torn rotator cuff, but he said that "the rotator's good, it's just the shoulder." That remains to be seen, however, which is why the Cardinals are flying him to Dallas. But Walden didn't seem too concerned and vowed to return soon.
"I'm going to get it better, and I'll be back," Walden said. "I think I'm going to be fine. I'm not worried at all. [It's] mostly discomfort. I just wasn't ready for the season."
Walden's setback essentially solidifies lefty Tyler Lyons' roster spot in the Cardinals' bullpen. It also opens the door for Rule 5 Draft pick Matt Bowman to earn the final bullpen spot. Bowman has looked strong in his last three relief appearances, permitting no earned runs and only one hit with three strikeouts.
Steve Dorsey is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.