By John Boyle
The Mariners’ unsettled pitching rotation got some more potentially bad news Friday, though as of now the team is hoping the latest setback isn’t serious.
Right-hander Taijuan Walker, one of baseball’s most promising young pitchers, will be shut down for 5 to 7 days because of what the Mariners are calling minor inflammation in his throwing shoulder.
The Mariners already kicked off spring training without starting pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, who is out 4 to 6 weeks with an injured finger—he’s scheduled to have the injury reevaluated Friday afternoon—so with Walker now having at least a minor setback, the starting rotation, at least to begin the season, could be a big area of concern.
While Walker’s injury isn’t believed to be serious, any shoulder issue is potentially troubling for a young pitcher. Then again, Felix Hernandez dealt with shoulder inflammation earlier in his career, and things turned out all right for him.
“It’s a little bit of a setback,” manager Lloyd McClendon told reporters in Arizona. “It is what it is, and we’ve just got to continue to move forward.
McClendon added: “We’re not just talking about 2014, we’re hopefully talking about the next 15 years. So we have to be cautious and we have to be smart. It’s frustrating for him, but I think the best avenue to take is to err on the side of being cautious.”
From the Mariners:
Out of an abundance of caution, Taijuan was examined by Dr. Neil ElAttrache at the Kerlan Jobe Clinic in Los Angeles on Thursday after his workout in Peoria.
Dr. ElAttrache agreed with Mariners Medical Director Dr. Ed Khalfayan’s diagnoses of inflammation in the right shoulder.
Dr. Khalfayan and Dr. ElAttrache also agree that the best plan of action at this time is to place Walker on a course of anti-inflammatory medication and, as a precaution, give him 5-7 days off before throwing again. This should allow all of the inflammation to clear in the shoulder.
Following the time off from throwing, Walker will resume his regular throwing program.