Taijuan Walker shuts it down after two AFL starts
Taijuan Walker was scratched from his scheduled Arizona Fall League start Saturday night and has decided not to pitch any more this offseason, though he is completely healthy, general manager Jack Zduriencik said Sunday.
The 22-year-old right-hander had been slated to pitch his third AFL game for the Surprise Saguaros on Saturday at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, but fellow Mariners prospect Stephen Landazuri replaced him and wound up allowing five hits and three runs in three innings to take the loss in a 9-4 loss to the Glendale Desert Dogs.
Walker had posted a 2.00 ERA in his first two AFL starts, allowing two runs and seven hits with two walks and 11 strikeouts in nine innings of work.
“Taijuan is completely healthy and was very impressive in his two outings, but made a personal decision that he needed to return home at this time,” Zduriencik said in a statement released by the club. “He will continue with his off-season program and we look forward to seeing him at Spring Training in February.”
Walker is regarded as one of the top young pitchers in baseball and was 2-3 with a 2.61 ERA in eight games for the Mariners this season. But he missed the first two months of the year with shoulder issues and Seattle officials had suggested they wanted him to throw about 25 innings in the AFL to increase his workload before shutting things down until next spring.
Landazuri is one of six other Mariners prospects on the Surprise squad. The 22-year-old right-hander had previously thrown three games in relief in AFL action and is now 1-3 with a 10.29 ERA in seven innings of work. Landazuri went 6-5 with a 4.33 ERA in 19 starts for Double-A Jackson this year.
Two of Seattle’s top position prospects, first baseman Patrick Kivlehan and third baseman D.J. Peterson, each had doubles in Saturday’s game. Kivlehan went 1-for-4 with a walk, an RBI and two runs, while Peterson was 1-for-3 with a walk and two RBIs.