Ankle sprain sidelines Walker

Ankle sprain sidelines Walker

ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals right fielder Larry Walker was removed from Saturday night's game against the Nationals due to a slight left ankle sprain. Walker was pulled at the start of the fifth inning, replaced in right field by So Taguchi.

The seven-time Gold Glover caught his spike on the wooden dugout steps as he ran off the field in the fourth and was unable to return to game action. Barry Weinberg, the Cardinals' head athletic trainer, said that Walker has never had an ankle problem before.

"As he leaves today, we can call it a mild sprain," said Weinberg.

"We will assess it in the morning to determine the extent of the injury."

Walker did not undergo an X-ray on his ankle before leaving Busch Stadium on Saturday evening. Weinberg said the club is not particularly concerned at this point, but quite a bit will hinge on Walker's condition on Sunday morning. Walker is not expected to be in the starting lineup on Sunday, though he could conceivably be used to hit.

"He turned his ankle coming off the field," said manager Tony La Russa. "He stepped on the steps and twisted it. Hopefully, he'll be available to pinch-hit tomorrow. He's not going to play tomorrow."

Walker has had injury troubles throughout his career, but has played quite a bit for the Cardinals in 2005. He played all three games at designated hitter last weekend in Kansas City, and Saturday marked his fourth start in five games in right field on the Cardinals' current homestand. Walker has been bothered by discomfort in his lower back, his groin, his shoulder and his finger this season.

Matthew Leach is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.