Walters: Won't be Back in St. Louis Soon

The St. Louis Cardinals have outrighted right-handed pitcher P.J. Walters to Triple-A Memphis.

The St. Louis Cardinals put two pitchers through outright waivers this week, with the intent of removing them from the 40-man roster. One, reliever Blake King, was claimed by the Houston Astros. Another, Memphis starting pitcher P.J. Walters, cleared waivers.

Walters
The 26-year-old right-hander remains in the Redbirds rotation for the near term. If not re-added to the 40-man by this off-season, however, Walters would be eligible for December's Rule 5 draft. If selected, he could ply his craft in another organization next season. Six-year minor league free agency would take effect following the 2012 season if he is not on a 40-man roster at that time.

Drafted in the 11th round in 2006, Walters was the Cardinals organization's Pitcher of the Year in 2007, climbing three levels during his first full season. He first reached Memphis early in the 2008 campaign and was added to the 40-man just prior to his MLB debut with St. Louis on April 17, 2009.

As a major leaguer, Walters has a 7.24 ERA in 46 innings between 2009 and 2010, but has not appeared with St. Louis in 2011. With his removal from the 40-man roster, it appears Walters will not be back with St. Louis any time soon.

The handwriting appeared on the wall in Jupiter, Florida in March. Walters received only the shortest of spring auditions in major league camp this year. After pitching in just one 1:00 game, allowing two runs in 2 2/3 innings of work against the Mets on March 3, our 25th-ranked Cardinals prospect heading into the season was sent to the minor league complex on March 11.

For the Triple-A Redbirds in 2011, the changeup specialist has a 2-3 record with a 5.81 ERA in ten starts. Walters' strikeout-to-walk ratio is 44:29 over 57 1/3 innings. His 44 strikeouts is the 12th-most total in the Pacific Coast League and his innings-pitched is seventh-most this season.

Control has been one of Walters' strengths over the years, but as the base on balls total indicates, it has been much less so in 2011. On May 15, he walked a Memphis franchise-record eight batters in just five innings at home versus Fresno. Last season, Walters issued just 30 free passes over 108 2/3 innings with the Redbirds. He also leads the PCL with eight hit batters this season.

Walters' next outing is scheduled for Tuesday evening at AutoZone Park as the Redbirds open up a four-game home series against Albuquerque (Dodgers).

With the King and Walters moves, the Cardinals at least temporarily have 38 players on their 40-man roster, giving them flexibility to add two other players as needs in St. Louis arise.



Remember that to view the entire Cardinals system by player, by level and position, check the Roster Matrix at The Cardinal Nation Blog, kept updated along with the team and player pages here at The Cardinal Nation.



Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Look for his weekly minor league column on Thursdays at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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