Well fans, after some what of a roller coaster week for the Mariners, with the split series to the Angels and starting pitcher James Paxton to the DL because of a lat strain, it looks like we are finally going to get some good news. It appears that starting pitcher Taijuan Walker is ready to rejoin the rotation.
Walker made his second Minor League rehab start since being placed on the DL because of shoulder inflammation in his throwing arm. Taijuan appears to be back to 100% on paper, he struck out 10 over 5 scoreless innings in Double A Jackson. In a recent interview with MLB.com, Walker had this to say of his performance:
I felt really good. My arm feels good, 100 percent. I feel like I can just go out there and play catch and not feel anything. It’s good I can go out there and have no worries.
This is welcome news for Mariners fans who just watched their other prized possession (Paxton) go down, joining Hisashi Iwakuma on the disabled list. Lucky for us his injury was just a strain, not a tear.
The question everyone is thinking right now is when will we see Walker? Well I can tell you one thing, as much as we all want Taijuan back, this decision will not be rushed. Sure the M’s training staff has to be feeling some pressure, but they do not want to rush a rehab assignment on someone who could be the next face of the franchise.
The current plan in place was to get Walker at 95-100 pitches before his assignment is complete. He threw 72 in his first start and 85 in his second.
It would appear that the Mariners, for now, will take a page out of Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll’s book and use the ‘next man up’ logic. Paxton’s next start was slated for Monday against the Texas Rangers. I would think that the next man up would have to be Blake Beavan or Brandon Maurer. Speaking of Maurer, he struck out 9 over 3.1 innings of long relief last night for the Rainiers in a loss to El Paso.
Stay tuned, I am sure we will have an answer in the next 24 hours.