Walker says all good after first throwing session
Mariners right-hander Taijuan Walker, one of baseball’s top young prospects, returned from a week-long layoff to rest his sore shoulder by playing some light catch on Thursday. And the 21-year-old said all went well after a frustrating seven days on the sidelines.
“It felt good, really good,” said Walker, who was diagnosed with bursitis in his throwing shoulder last week after feeling soreness in the first two weeks of camp. “It was just 60 feet, so not really getting out there. But it was a test to see how I felt and it felt good.”
Walker, who is expected to miss at least the first few weeks of the regular season, admitted he was anxious about even playing catch after the shoulder had given him problems ever since his arrival at camp.
“I was a little nervous about it, especially being out for seven days,” he said. “I didn’t really know what to expect. But I was pretty happy with the results.”
The Mariners believe Walker just overthrew getting ready for camp, wanting to come in ready to compete for a rotation berth. Tests didn’t show any structural damage last week, just inflammation, and the expectation is he should be fine once he builds his arm strength up again with a slow throwing program in the coming weeks.
Walker said he’ll move back a little and play catch at about 75-90 feet on Friday and continue that process until getting cleared to throw bullpens and eventually throw to live hitters in batting practice and simulated games.
Even being sidelined for a week was a tough pill to swallow for the youngster.
“It sucks being out for a period of time,” he said. “It felt like seven days was months. I was getting bored at the end. I was looking forward to this day all week. I couldn’t imagine being out longer, especially watching everyone go out there and compete and have fun. You’re just sitting there. It’s mentally tough because you want to e out there and push through it, but at same time you need you have to take it slow.”