Mariners to shut down Taijuan Walker for two weeks

Staff writerApril 16, 2014 

Mariners Spring Baseball

Seattle Mariners pitcher Taijuan Walker throws in a bullpen session during spring training baseball practice, Thursday Feb. 20, 2014, in Peoria, Ariz.

TONY GUTIERREZ — AP

— Right-hander Taijuan Walker, the Seattle Mariners’ top prospect, is back on the shelf — no throwing for two weeks — after an examination Wednesday revealed renewed shoulder problems.

“He has a right shoulder impingement,” general manager Jack Zduriencik said. “So what we’re going to do is back him off for about two weeks and take care of the area.

“Then he’ll begin throwing, and we’ll have to build him back up.”

The announcement came one day after Walker was scratched from a rehab start at Triple-A Tacoma because of what club officials characterized as “stiffness in his arm.”

Walker, 21, made his big league debut last season and projected as a likely member of the rotation before shoulder soreness, eventually diagnosed as bursitis, surfaced early in spring training.

That led to a one-week shutdown from all throwing in early March, but he had been pain-free since resuming his throwing program and appeared on track to rejoin the rotation in the near future.

Now, everything is on hold.

“I think you have to take a long-range view on this, the big-picture view,” Zduriencik said, “and realize this is a little setback. No question about it. But in the long run, we’ve got to do what’s best for Taijuan.

“I think what’s best, at this point, is to back him off, get him 100 percent, and then get him built back up.”

JONES PROMOTED

Infielder Nick Franklin wasn’t the only reinforcement scheduled to arrive Wednesday from Tacoma. The Mariners also recalled outfielder James Jones after placing pitcher Blake Beavan on the disabled list.

Jones, 25, was batting .310 for the Rainiers in 11 games but didn’t arrive in time for Wednesday’s game. His first appearance will mark his big league debut.

Manager Lloyd McClendon said Jones provides desired versatility as the Mariners head into a weekend series at Miami, where National League rules (i.e., no designated hitter) will be in effect.

“I’m not sure there are a lot of at-bats for him,” McClendon said, “but I thought it was the right move to make going into a National League ballpark with pinch-hitting, double switches … whatever the case may be.

“I think he fits that mold. I think he’s the prototypical type of player to do that, and he’s a roster player. It makes sense.”

BEAVAN ON SHELF

It was a rotten 24 hours for Beavan. The right-hander went from a chance to claim a spot in the rotation Tuesday, to an early exit because of a dead arm, to a trip Wednesday to the disabled list because of shoulder tendinitis.

“It’s pretty sore today,” he said. “It’s just frustrating to me. I’ve never had anything like this. I’ve never been taken out of a game because I had something wrong with my arm.

“I’ve pitched with a tight back or stuff like that, but nothing that affected my velocity like that.”

SUNDAY STARTER

The decision to recall Jones after placing Beavan on the disabled list means the Mariners must make another move to add a starting pitcher before Sunday’s game in Miami.

“It will probably be one of our guys internally,” Zduriencik said.

That points to either Brandon Maurer or Anthony Fernandez, who are on the 40-man roster. Both are currently with Tacoma.

OAKLAND DOUBLEHEADER

The Mariners will play a standard doubleheader May 7 in Oakland to make up a game postponed April 4. The O.co Coliseum field had been deemed unplayable after it was left uncovered in a morning rainstorm.

The doubleheader will begin at 12:35 p.m., and the second game will start approximately 30 minutes after the opener concludes.

The decision creates a four-game series and falls on the final day of a lengthy trip. The Mariners open with three games in New York against the Yankees and play three games in Houston before arriving in Oakland.

LOOKING BACK

It was 21 years ago Thursday — April 17, 1993 — that the Mariners set a club record for runs allowed in a 20-3 loss at Detroit. Left-hander Mike Hampton, in his first career start, gave up four runs in 2† innings.

The Tigers then mauled the bullpen: Dwayne Henry gave up two runs in 2ª innings; Dave Wainhouse gave up seven in one inning; Russ Swan gave up four in one inning; and Tim Leary gave up three in one inning.

ON TAP

The Mariners and Rangers conclude their four-game series at 11:05 a.m. Thursday at Globe Life Park. Seattle right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (1-2, 5.63 ERA) will look to break a two-game losing streak when he faces Texas righty Tanner Scheppers (0-1, 7.88).

bob.dutton@thenewstribune.com
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