Though the results may not have been what he desired, the good news out of last night's rehab start for Mariners rookie starting pitcher Taijuan Walker is that everything feels fine. From Adam Lewis of MLB.com:
Walker, ranked the No. 5 prospect in baseball by MLB.com, allowed back-to-back home runs in his final frame. His line of three innings, five hits, four runs (all earned), three strikeouts and no walks left him "disappointed" in his first Minor League appearance since being diagnosed with an impingement in his throwing shoulder in mid-April.
That's the bad.
The good: Walker threw 61 pitches (38 strikes), then 14 more in the bullpen after being taken out. He showed no signs of ailing from the shoulder injury that's kept him sidelined the last six weeks.
The Mariners are certainly hoping for more improvement from Walker over the next month, as they find themselves in the precarious position of being a .500 team through 52 games of the 2014 season. Integrating Walker into the rotation would be a boost in more ways than one, as King Felix and Hisashi Iwakuma are doing their best to carry the team on their shoulders. Though Roenis Elias continues to be a dependable #4, Chris Young has severe regression written all over his peripherals. And the other two pitchers to make starts for the Mariners this season, Brandon Maurer and Erasmo Ramirez, have combined for a 6.48 ERA in twelve starts covering just over fifty-eight innings.