Journell was selected by the Cardinals in the fourth round of the 1999 draft and 6'4, 205 right hander pitched in his first year of professional baseball for the class A, New Jersey Cardinals (NY-P). In 13 games, with only 1 start Journell finished with a 1-0 record and a miniscule 1.97 ERA. In 32 innings pitched, opposing hitters, hit just .111 against the University of Illinois alumni.
Over the next two seasons, Journell spent time at Potomac (A), New Haven (AA) & Memphis (AAA), making a total of 51 starts before being converted to a full time reliever in 2003 for the Memphis Redbirds.
Journell had expressed on several occasions, that he preferred to pitch in relief and the Cardinals organization accommodated him.
In 2003 Journell appeared in 33 games for the Redbirds along with his 7 seven early starts and finished his AAA season with a 6-6 record and a 3.92 ERA. As a starter, he went 1-5 with a 5.54 ERA, but as a reliever he was 5-1, 2.43 (11ER/40.2IP)
Getting a late call up by the Cardinals, Journell appeared in 7 major league games, ending up with a 0-0 record and a 6.00 ERA.
It appeared that Journell was back in the role that best suited him mentally and physically, before he suffered another major setback in his professional baseball career.
Journell pitched just three innings for AAA Memphis in 2004, before getting shut down for the season to have surgery to repair a torn labrum.
When healthy, physically and mentally, Journell shows he has some of the best stuff in the Cardinals organization. He has a mid-90s fastball and a sharp slider.
The knock against Journell is that his mechanics are inconsistent, affecting his control and limiting his ability and durability as a starter.
There are currently no plans of converting Journell back to a starter.
The Cardinals had hope that Journell would be a part of their bullpen last season and he was given a shot to make the team this spring training.
Reports from Memphis indicate Journell is 100% healthy. He had struck out five in three perfect innings of relief in Memphis this season.
For now look for Journell to fill in for Cal Eldred, he needs to show he can get the job done, because time is running out for Journell.