As St. Louis Cardinals pitchers stream into spring training camp in Jupiter, Florida, one is missing. 24-year-old right-hander P.J. Walters has an even more important fight on his hands than to compete for the open fifth spot in the team's rotation – the life of his infant daughter.
Walters and his wife Brittney, 26 weeks into her pregnancy with the couple's first child, had scheduled a routine doctor's visit on Monday, just prior to P.J.'s scheduled departure for camp. The physician discovered a problem with the unborn child and rushed the couple to the hospital.
The family was initially told the baby was unlikely to survive. On Wednesday, they decided to undertake an emergency Caesarean section. A baby girl, Annabelle Faith, was born yesterday.
At just 3 pounds, 6 ounces, Annabelle has heart problems, the extent of which is not yet fully understood. The Walters family was told the next 48 hours are critical.
Brittney Walters is fine and doctors have already been pleasantly surprised by the toughness of little Annabelle, according to new grandfather Phillip Walters. Phillip asks The Cardinal Nation to join in their prayers that their newest family member will win her battle.
Phillip gave the Cardinals organization high marks for their support of P.J. in this extremely difficult time. Walters has been told by John Mozeliak, Tony La Russa and Jeff Luhnow to take all the time he needs to be with his wife and daughter.
In addition to your much-needed prayers, those who want to express your thoughts and well-wishes to the Walters family in writing may do so in a special thread on our message board.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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