Cardinals recall top prospect Walker as Nootbaar hits injured list

St. Louis Cardinals' Jordan Walker singles during the second inning of an opening day baseball...
St. Louis Cardinals' Jordan Walker singles during the second inning of an opening day baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays Thursday, March 30, 2023, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)(Jeff Roberson | AP)
Published: Jun. 2, 2023 at 5:58 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - The Cardinals announced Friday ahead of their weekend series in Pittsburgh that top prospect Jordan Walker has rejoined the club. The move comes as Lars Nootbaar’s back spasms suffered in Monday’s loss to the Royals proved significant enough to require a stint on the 10-day injured list.

Walker was demoted toward the end of April amid questions on the availability of playing time in a crowded St. Louis outfield. Since that time, however, the team has seen Nootbaar hit the IL along with Dylan Carlson and Tyler O’Neill, opening the door for Walker’s return.

Another element of Walker’s demotion at the time was the team’s desire to see him get more lift on the baseball—using his impressive swing to generate more line drives and fly balls rather than the multitude of grounders that he was falling into the habit of hitting at the time.

Walker struggled at first upon his demotion to Memphis, bringing him to a point where he ended up reverting back toward what comes naturally to him in the batter’s box to turn things around. But even as he put the mechanical tweaks to his game out of mind during game action, Walker continued to work on adjustments in the cage with the hitting coaches in Memphis.

Walker posted a .746 OPS with four home runs in Triple-A. He’ll bat eighth and play right field for the Cardinals against the Pirates on Friday night.

Nootbaar’s IL stint comes after he banged up his back crashing into the center field wall on a leaping catch in the second inning of Monday’s game at Busch Stadium. When chasing after a fly ball in the gap in the following inning, Nootbaar pulled up short in his pursuit and crumpled to the ground after his back locked up on him.