JUPITER, Fla. — The bigger concern for Cardinals top prospect Jordan Walker as he remained on the ground near second base Saturday afternoon was the scrape he’s been trying to heal on his right hand, not the shoulder ache that would bump him from the game.
Walker was removed from the game due to a right shoulder strain, the Cardinals announced, but the feel from the outfielder and the team was that the issue would not linger.
After meeting with trainers Sunday morning, Walker went back to work.
“I’m fine. I’m good,” the 20-year-old outfield said. “I’m going to go to the cages and hit.”
Walker said the initial pain was “minimal.”
The Cardinals cleared Walker for all baseball activities Sunday, and he described that his concern during the game was not the shoulder he jammed sliding into second base. For a week or so he’s been trying to get a scrape on his palm to heal, constantly wrapping and refreshing the wrap over it. He injured the hand sliding into home. It has not cost him any playing, or really any sort of success.
His concern was that he opened up the wound on his hand as he outran a play at first to reach base on an error and then raced for second to put two runners in scoring position for the Cardinals.
Walker leads the Grapefruit League in hits and total bases, and he’s among the leaders throughout spring training in many significant offensive categories, including average, slugging, and OPS.
The Cardinals did not have Walker go for a scan of the shoulder, not after some stretching alleviated the soreness.
He was removed as a precaution, though he did play an inning in the field after sliding hard into second base and said Sunday morning he didn’t feel limited when throwing. The Cardinals did not want him to push with a swing, but less than 24 hours later he was fine and back headed to the cage to swing.
Walker is expected to be back in the lineup Tuesday.
The Cardinals had a scheduled off day for their young talent Sunday, and the team is closing camp for a day off Monday.
Ahead of that, Steven Matz gets his latest start with a chance to press deeper into the game, as much as five innings. He’ll be followed by several of the right-handed pitchers trying to win a spot in the Cardinals’ late-inning assignments.
Here is the lineup:
1. Masyn Winn, SS
2. Alec Burleson, DH
3. Taylor Motter, 1B
4. Moises Gomez, LF
5. Andrew Knizner, C
6. Juniel Querecuto, 3B
7. Kramer Robertson, 2B
8. Justin Toerner, RF
9. Nathan Church, CF
Starting pitcher: Steve Matz, LHP.
Also scheduled to pitch: Ryan Helsley, RHP, and Drew VerHagen, RHP.
Check back throughout the day here at StlToday.com for coverage from Roger Dean Stadium and the Cardinals’ game. There will also be expanded coverage in the pages of the Monday Post-Dispatch and online.
@dgoold on Twitter