The Cardinals got a bit of a scare when Jordan Walker appeared to injure his shoulder while sliding into second base during yesterday’s spring contest. However, after some examination, it seems like Walker is fine. “I’m good. I’m fine. I’m going to go hit after this (meeting). …I knew it wasn’t anything serious,” Walker said to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Walker did not have an MRI and will take batting practice today, per John Denton of MLB.com.
The fact that Walker is fine will surely be welcome news to the Cards and their fans. Though he doesn’t turn 21 until May, he’s one of the top prospects in the league and is pushing for a spot on the Opening Day roster. He spent all of last year in Double-A, hitting 19 home runs and stealing 22 bases in 119 games at that level. His .306/.388/.510 batting line was 28% better than league average, by measure of wRC+.
A natural third baseman, Walker has been moved to the outfield due to the Nolan Arenado-shaped obstacle at the hot corner. Now Walker will be looking to crack an outfield mix consisting of Tyler O’Neill, Dylan Carlson, Lars Nootbaar, Juan Yepez and Alec Burleson.
Some other health notes from around the league…
- Orioles left-hander Nick Vespi tells Andy Kostka of The Baltimore Banner that he’s scheduled to pitch tomorrow. The southpaw underwent surgery to repair a hernia in January and has been held out of spring action until now. Vespi made his MLB debut last year and posted a 4.10 ERA over 25 appearances, striking out 25% of batters faced, walking 7.1% of them and getting grounders at a 42.7% clip. It’s possible that Vespi could take his game to another level, as he also made 26 Triple-A appearances last year without allowing an earned run and even better rate stats. If Vespi is back to health, he should slot into the club’s left-handed relief mix next to Cionel Pérez and Keegan Akin.
- The Reds announced their lineup for today’s Spring Training game and it features Joey Votto batting second and playing first base. This will be his first Cactus League game of the year, as he’s been working his way back from August shoulder surgery. Votto spoke about his rehab in January, expressing confidence in his ability to get back to 100% health at some point, although he wasn’t sure if that would be at the start of spring. Though he’s missed the first handful of spring contests, he’ll now be back on the field with over two weeks to go until Opening Day. This will be Votto’s 17th year for the Reds and the final guaranteed season of the $225MM extension he signed back in 2012. The 39-year-old will make $25MM this year and then the club has a $20MM option for 2024 with a $7MM buyout. Votto struggled last year before the surgery, hitting .205/.319/.370 for a wRC+ of 92. But the year prior, he launched 36 home runs and had a much stronger line of .266/.375/.563, 139 wRC+.