Is Taijuan Walker sufficiently recovered from a sore shoulder to handle the demands of duty in the big-league rotation? That’s the Mariners’ internal debate in determining a replacement for injured James Paxton.
The answer, manager Lloyd McClendon said, should be known “within the next 24 hours.”
The Mariners need a starter for Tuesday night in Texas after shifting veteran right-hander Chris Young into Paxton’s regular slot for Sunday’s finale against the A’s at Safeco Field
The choice appears to be between Walker and Blake Beavan, although McClendon did not rule out (but also didn’t identify) other possibilities. More specifically, the choice seems to hinge on Walker’s readiness.
“We want to be cautious with Taijuan,” McClendon said. “We’ve got to make sure he’s ready to compete at this level.
“When I talk about competing, the game is a little more stressful at this level than it is at the minor-league level. The number of pitches that you throw and the outs that you get are going to be harder at this level.
“We have to take all of that into account when we decide whether or not we’re going to bring him (up) or somebody else. We’re still talking about all of that.”
Walker was shut down from all throwing for a week in early March because of what doctors identified as bursitis in his right shoulder. He says he has been “pain free” since returning and has made two rehab starts.
“I feel like I’m ready now, but that’s not up to me,” Walker said Wednesday after striking out 10 in five scoreless innings for Double-A Jackson in a 4-2 victory over Mississippi (Braves).
“My arm has been feeling really good. Right now, it’s in their hands. I can’t really control that. So I’m just going to keep pitching until they call me up.”
Like Walker, Beavan started Wednesday (at Triple-A Tacoma), which means he would be fully rested for a Tuesday start against the Rangers. Beavan is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in two starts for the Rainiers.
“He threw the ball extremely well as well (on Wednesday),” McClendon said. “He’d certainly be in the mix, also.”