St. Louis Cardinals’ Jordan Walden Out Long-Term With Shoulder Issue


St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Jordan Walden is likely out until at least the All-Star break after being diagnosed with a right shoulder strain on Wednesday. The six-year veteran and first-year Cardinal had gone on the disabled list with shoulder soreness this past weekend, but sought a second opinion on the injury. He’ll now be shut down for between 6 and 10 weeks, and he’ll have to go through a rehab program after that before he can return to the Cardinals’ bullpen. That means that even if Walden is able to return to throwing in the absolute minimum six weeks, he likely will not be available to the Cardinals until early July.

Though the Cardinals have been fantastic since Walden went on the DL and have gotten great work out of guys like Miguel Socolovich and Mitch Harris, it’s still a pretty crushing loss for them to lose their eighth-inning reliever for a significant chunk of the season. Walden, a former All-Star closer, had an 0.87 ERA and a .189 opponent batting average over his first 12 appearances for the Cards.

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In his absence, the eighth inning duties figure to be more of a committee among Seth Maness, Matt Belisle, and Kevin Siegrist, and the rookie Harris could get more high-leverage opportunities. Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said that the team plans to stay with its current eight-man bullpen “for some time”, according to’s Jennifer Langosch. That would seem to make Harris and Socolovich, the team’s newest additions, safe for a while.

Walden’s injury may spell trouble for outfielder Randal Grichuk, who has been on the disabled list with a back injury but is expected to return to game action later this week at extended spring training. Though Grichuk is a starting-caliber player with some serious righthanded power, there’s been controversy about whether he should be in the major leagues due to the risk of him falling out of a rhythm and having his bat go to waste on the bench. If the Cardinals plan to keep their 13-man pitching staff in place for longer than the next two weeks, it’s possible that they could option Grichuk to Triple-A upon his return to accommodate the expanded staff.

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