Cardinals option slumping rookie Jordan Walker to Triple-A

SAN FRANCISCO -- Promising St. Louis Cardinals rookie outfielder Jordan Walker was optioned to Triple-A Memphis on Wednesday following a 7-for-35 slide in his last 10 games.

Walker made his debut on opening day and opened the season with a record-tying 12-game hitting streak. He was hitting .353 through April 10 but his average has dropped to .274 with three doubles, two home runs and 11 RBIs. Walker struck out 20 times in 73 at-bats.

Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said the decision was made to get some of the team's other outfielders additional opportunities while getting the 20-year-old Walker more experience in the minor leagues. Marmol also said it would be "crazy" to think that Walker wouldn't be returning to the big league club.

"There is a need for some of these guys to go out there more often and get into a little bit of rhythm, and they just haven't been able to do that because we do have five guys that are all deserving of playing every day," Marmol said, pointing to Alec Burleson, Dylan Carlson, Nolan Gorman, Lars Nootbaar and Tyler O'Neill. "But we didn't have a chance of sending the same guys out there often enough for them to get into a rhythm based on that log jam.

"The second part of this is I think we have a real superstar on our hands in Walker. And we have to make sure that we're doing what's right fo rhim, which in turn will do what's right for us."

A first-round pick out of high school in 2020, Walker made the jump from Double-A to the majors this March and tied Eddie Murphy of the 1912 Philadelphia Athletics for the longest hitting streak to begin a career by a player age 20 or younger.

But Walker had played in only four of the Cardinals' previous six games and had only four games this season with multiple hits.

"In Double-A you see a lot of firepower, a lot of guys and your big arms there," Marmol said. "In Triple-A you see a lot of guys that have been in the league for a while that are more pitch-makers. They nibble, they spin you. He didn't get to experience that. So the adjustments that need to be made mechanically and approach-wise, I think it lends itself well to go down there, get that taken care and then come back and see us and help us win. At some point Jordan Walker will be back."