In an organization loaded with pitching talent, weathering injuries is somewhat easier than it is for most big league clubs. For the St. Louis Cardinals, that has again and again proven to be the case – and hopefully it will ring true again as right-hander Jordan Walden seeks a second opinion on his injured right arm.
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Walden, 27, was placed on the 15-day DL last weekend with what was labeled as “right biceps inflammation.” The former Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Atlanta Braves reliever is still weighing his options according to MLB.com – with no course of action yet decided upon.
According to St. Louis general manager Jon Mozeliak, Walden’s injury doesn’t always lead to the same treatment – with options ranging from surgery to players gutting their way through the pain.
Last season, the St. Louis setup man appeared in 58 games for the National League East’s Braves, pitching to a 2.88 ERA – a full-season career-best for Walden. Across six big league seasons, he’s made 243 appearances in which he’s compiled a 2.77 SO/BB ratio and 2.76 FIP.
Mozeliak said that Walden seemed optimistic that he would be able to pitch through the injury, although no decision had yet been made.
He made the American League All-Star team with the Angels in 2011 when he racked up 32 saves, en route to a sixth-place finish in AL Rookie of the Year balloting. After being traded to the Braves a year later, he then wound up with the Cardinals in the deal that sent Shelby Miller to Atlanta in exchange for outfielder Jason Heyward.
Walden inked a two-year contract extension after the trade last November, with the deal totaling $6.6 million. In a dozen appearances with St. Louis this season, the righty pitched to a minuscule 0.87 ERA – emerging as a key contributor in what has been a stellar relief corps for manager Mike Matheny.