Seattle Mariners fans have been wondering how soon will pitching prospect Taijuan Walker make his major league debut.
If you’re big into speculation, then the appearance of Seattle general manager Jack Zduriencik and director of scouting Tom McNamara sitting behind Cheney Stadium’s home plate for Walker’s 10th Triple-A start Tuesday against Colorado Springs – a 3-1 win for Tacoma – could be a sign that the Mariners are ready to promote their 21-year-old phenom.
One thing that isn’t on Walker’s side is his total innings pitched.
With at least two projected starts remaining in the Rainiers’ season, which ends Sept. 2 if Tacoma fails to make the postseason, he’s already at 134 innings, surpassing last year’s count of 1262/3.
Walker said he was unaware of Zduriencik and McNamara in attendance until his night was done after five shutout innings, allowing three hits, and six strikeouts over 103 pitches.
“No pressure,” Walker said. “I try not to worry about that stuff because it can get into you head sometimes and throw you off your game.”
Walker was solid during his first six Triple-A starts, but hasn’t been Walker-esque in August.
He allowed a combined 20 earned runs and 14 walks over his previous five starts.
Walker had a stronger outing Tuesday, despite a high pitch count early and four walks.
“The numbers in my last starts don’t look good, but I always try to take something positive and negative and try to improve on each start,” Walker said. “I think today, I did a good job of that.”
One of the jams he got into was with one out and the bases loaded in the fifth inning when he struck out Reid Brignac swinging, followed by a routine groundout by Xavier Nady. Brignac and Nady have a combined 1,241 games in the major leagues.
“He learned a lot tonight,” Tacoma manager John Stearns said of Walker.
Abraham Almonte continued his hot hitting with the executives watching. His two-run home run in the third put Tacoma (70-61) up 2-0.
In the five-game series with Colorado Springs (62-66), Almonte went 8-for-21 (.381) and leads the Rainiers with a .305 season average.
Joe Dunigan hit a solo home run in the fifth inning for Tacoma.
The Rainiers travel to Tucson for their final regular-season trip, opening a five-game series at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday. Tacoma right-hander Blake Beavan (4-5, 5.75 ERA) faces Padres right-hander Anthony Bass (3-6, 5.93).Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 email@example.com