Walker: First Day Back

The Cardinals' right fielder talks about his first game action of the spring Thursday.

How'd it go? How'd it feel out there?

It felt good. I got a couple of balls hit to me, so I was able to move, which is fine. I hit the ball right my first time up, but swing at a ball the next time. I felt comfortable over all.

Is it less work to prepare for a game than to not play?

It's like I told my wife last night. She wanted me to stay up later with her and watch some shows. I said, "I have to go to bed", because I didn't know I was playing until I got to the park today. So, I thought it was going to be more of a workout day for me, which is harder to do than actually playing. Now that I am playing again, that pre-game workout is cut down. It is easier to do today. I am still going to be "precautious". I still have exercises to go do right now and go put my ice on it and continue doing maintenance things.

Has recovery been a slow process or have you gotten progressively better?

I could have probably played maybe four days ago. It's felt that good. But, precaution-wise, we just didn't want to jump the gun.

Do you expect to be in the lineup every day or skip days for awhile?

I don't know. I have no idea. I know I am not playing tomorrow (Friday). I don't know what Tony (La Russa) has in store and the trainers. They'll talk about it and whatever they want me to do, I'll do – to a certain extent (grins).

Is it coincidence that your off day coincides with the trip to Viera?

I can't deny it and I can't confirm it. It just worked out that way, I guess (grins again). It's like when Randy Johnson's ball went behind my head in the All-Star Game. It just slipped. It's just the way it went. A freak thing.

Is the back problem gone? Was it a freak thing?

Well, yeah. I don't feel anything. And the pain is all gone. I am able to bend down and do everything and I hope it stays like that. We'll see.

Do you know why it happened in the first place?

I don't know what it was.

Brian Walton can be reached at brwalton@earthlink.net

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