Walker throws well, now comes Elias


Good news from Taijuan Walker today as the youngster threw a 40-pitch bullpen session and said he felt great. Walker is likely a couple weeks still from throwing in a game and a few more from being Major League ready, in the best-case scenario, but the fact he’s on the mend and throwing well is welcome news.

Meanwhile, a less-heralded youngster, Roenis Elias, makes his starting debut in today’s Cactus League game against the Angels in Tempe at 1:10 p.m. PT.

Elias, a 25-year-old Cuban refugee, pitched Double-A ball last year and was a Southern League All-Star in Jackson. He’s caught Lloyd McClendon’s attention in camp this spring while going 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA in 7 1/3 innings in three relief appearances.

“His stuff is real good,” McClendon said. “When he’s in the zone, they don’t do a lot with it. I like what I see. It was interesting his last outing against Anaheim, he loaded the bases and never panicked. He got three ground ball outs and that says a lot against a pretty good lineup. He’ll be tested today and we’ll see what he’s got.”

What does McClendon want to see from the youngster against that same Angels lineup?

“Better command,” said the skipper. “His stuff is plenty good. I think he has pretty good mound presence. If you look at his numbers in the book, he walks people and then he strikes people out. You’d like to see less walks because you’re not going to strike out as many people at this level. But his stuff is plenty good. He’s an interesting kid.”

Here’s the full lineup for today’s game, which will be carried live on 710 ESPN Seattle.

Abraham Almonte CF
Kyle Seager 3B
Corey Hart DH
Justin Smoak 1B
Michael Saunders RF
Dustin Ackley LF
Mike Zunino C
Brad Miller SS
Willie Bloomquist 2B

Roenis Elias LHP

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