Mariners pitcher Taijuan Walker will resume his spring training throwing program Thursday. The goal for Walker, sidelined since Friday after tests showed inflammation in his throwing shoulder, is to rejoin the starting rotation by the middle of April.
The organization’s No. 1 prospect will play catch Thursday, If his arm is healthy, he will start long-toss sessions before transitioning to bullpen workouts. His rehabilitation program is expected to last three weeks.
Walker went 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA, 12 strikeouts, and four walks in 15 innings over three starts last season. He won his major league debut Aug. 30, yielding two hits and one unearned run in five innings, as the Mariners beat the Houston Astros 7-1.
Before last week’s setback, Walker was slated to start the 2014 season in the starting rotation, presumably behind ace Felix Hernandez and No. 2 Hisashi Iwakuma. Injuries to Walker and Iwakuma (strained finger tendon on his throwing hand), both of whom aren’t expected ready by the regular season, puts Seattle’s rotation in flux. It’s the subject of Mariners beat writer Bob Dutton’s latest story.
- In games worth nothing, the Mariners are doing great. They’re 5-1 in Cactus League play after pulling off the rare split-squad sweep Monday. The road Mariners traveled to Goodyear and erased an early deficit in a 6-5 win over the Reds. Shortstop Chris Taylor hit a seventh-inning grand slam to cap the comeback after four Mariners’ errors early in the game helped create a 4-0 deficit.
- The home Mariners, meanwhile, beat the visiting Rockies 8-1 over at Peoria Stadium. Left fielder Dustin Ackley continued his hot spring by going 2-for-3 with a three-run double, which raised his average to .600 (6-for-10). In four games, Ackley has a home run, six RBIs and three doubles. Second baseman Robinson Cano also went 2-for-3 with two singles before he was lifted in the fifth inning. Vying to regain his spot in the rotation, Blake Beavan made his first start of the spring and gave up one run in three innings.
- Felix Hernandez makes his Cactus League debut Tuesday when the Mariners play the Dodgers at 12:05 p.m. P.T. at Camelback Ranch in Glendale. He’ll pitch two innings, then be followed by Hector Noesi, Stephen Kohlscheen, James Gillheeney, Carson Smith and Logan Bawcom. Third baseman Kyle Seager is also back in the starting lineup for the first time since jamming his right index finger sliding into the third base bag in Seattle’s opener. The broadcast, on a one-hour delay, is on MLB Network at 1 p.m PT.
- In an ESPN Magazine profile, new Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler had some pointed comments about Rangers general manager Jon Daniels. Kinsler also said he hopes the Rangers go “0-162” after they traded him to Detroit for first baseman Prince Fielder this offseason.