Taijuan Walker feels better than results show

don.ruiz@thenewstribune.comMay 29, 2014 

Seattle Mariners top pitching prospect Taijuan Walker put up an unimpressive pitching line in his return to the mound Wednesday with the Tacoma Rainiers.

That bothered him only briefly.

“Naturally, I’m disappointed in the numbers, but this start really wasn’t about the numbers,” he said. “Pretty much it’s about how I feel, and I felt good.”

Walker went three innings in his rehabilitation start and was credited with the loss as the Salt Lake Bees took a 5-3 win at Cheney Stadium. He allowed four earned runs on five hits with three strikeouts and no walks while throwing 61 pitches with 38 strikes.

It was his first appearance since April, when the Mariners shut him down because of shoulder issues.

“I stayed positive and have been working my butt off to get back up there,” Walker said. “Making this rehab start was huge. I felt good. I’m still positive about it. I’m not too worried about the outcome. I was pretty mad, but I cooled down a little bit now that I feel good.”

After opening with two scoreless innings, Walker allowed four runs in the third. Most of the damage was done on back-to-back, two-out home runs: first Efren Navarro to right, then Luis Jimenez to left.

“I think he got tired a little bit,” Tacoma manager Roy Howell said. “Made some pitches and got the ball up a little bit. But that’s understandable. Our game isn’t very forgiving. You can make 20 great pitches, and you make one mistake and some guy hits it out of the ballpark.”

That Salt Lake eruption erased an early 2-0 Tacoma lead and put the Bees ahead to stay.

The Rainiers’ final run came from another guy on a rehab assignment: Logan Morrison, who sent a ball deep over the right-center field wall in the seventh inning.

“I think he tore down a tree back there behind the scoreboard,” Howell said. “He felt good about it because he’s been working hard, knowing as a hitter you catch one once in a while like that. I guess it’s like playing golf: You have a nice drive down the center, and that makes you want to come back.”

Morrison appeared in eight games with Seattle before landing on the disabled list because of a hamstring injury. He joined the Rainiers on a rehab assignment Friday.


Tacoma (21-30) and Salt Lake (19-35) continue their series at 7:05 p.m. Thursday. The Rainiers are scheduled to send right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (0-3, 4.94 ERA) against right-hander Anthony Lerew (0-0, 9.00). The game will be broadcast on 850-AM.

Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com

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