It’s looking more likely that St. Louis Cardinals reliever Jordan Walden won’t pitch again until September, assuming he pitches at all.
Walden’s recent minor-league rehab was stopped after four outings when his right shoulder didn’t feel right. Walden has been on the disabled list with biceps inflammation since April 30.
“My arm didn’t bounce back right,” Walden said. “It wasn’t strong enough yet, so we pretty much took a step back. I’ve got a couple more weeks of some good rehab and I’ll try to get back to pitching again.”
In addition to his arm not being strong enough, Walden said it was “tight” and “wasn’t flexible.”
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“I think now I will be on a good track,” said Walden, who wouldn’t guess about when he might return. “We’ll just see in a couple of weeks. I’ll see a doctor and hopefully get cleared to pitch. I want to stay positive. It was going down a (bad) path.”
Walden is signed for next season at $3.5 million. The Cardinals have an option on Walden for $5.25 million in 2017, with a $250,000 buyout.
Adams making progress
First baseman Matt Adams (right quad strain) is taking “controlled swings” and there remains a bit of optimism that he could return in September or in the postseason.
“When this injury happened (in May), I don’t think anybody was expecting him to be taking controlled swings at this point of the summer,” Matheny said. “So that’s a positive for us.”
Matheny said the Cardinals won’t handle Adams’ recovery any differently than before Matt Holliday reinjured his right quad July 29, less than two weeks after being activated.
“We have a very talented medical staff that has (Adams) every day,” Matheny said. “They’re putting him through all the tests and they’re sending him into the X-ray machines and the MRIs to look and see, ‘Where are we? What are you feeling? Let’s make the best decision we can make.’ (That’s) regardless of what’s happened to somebody else and regardless of what’s happened to him as well. We trust the fact that we’ve used every tool that we have to evaluate whether or not it’s safe to go play.”
Matheny said if a player on the disabled list feels good and has passed all the necessary requirements of the medical staff, it makes no sense for the Cardinals to “pump the brakes when all those things have been checked.”
“We understand we have to be cautious; we have to learn from what we’ve experienced already,” Matheny said. “With that being said, we’re also not just going to sit around. If we’ve been given clearance for whatever next step they have, we’re going to take it.”
Matheny said center fielder Jon Jay, sidelined since July 1 with a stress reaction in his left wrist, still is trying to regain strength and isn’t close to a return. He is only hitting balls off a tee.
If Jay is able to return, it’s hard to envision a role for him other than serving as a pinch-hitter, since power-hitting rookie Randal Grichuk has taken over as the regular center fielder.
Jay signed a two-year, $10.975 million extension in February and is due to be paid $6.225 million in 2016. He is batting .223 with one home run and 10 RBIs in 57 games.
Wacha vs. Cole
Two NL Cy Young Award contenders will match up at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday when Pittsburgh sends Gerrit Cole (14-5, 2.39 ERA) against the Cardinals’ Michael Wacha (13-4, 2.92 ERA). Cole, 24, beat the Cardinals 5-2 on July 10; Wacha, also 24, defeated the Pirates 8-5 on May 8.
“I think baseball fans in general will appreciate that kind of pitching matchup,” Matheny said. “It’s a couple of guys who are young, exciting players to watch.”