By Shannon Drayer
PEORIA, Ariz. – Taijuan Walker took another step forward in his recovery from shoulder bursitis, throwing a 40-pitch bullpen Sunday morning in Peoria.
The bullpen session started slow with Walker being very deliberate in his delivery. As he got going he turned up the intensity and effort.
“It went really well, really well. I’m really happy, my arm felt great. It was about 85-90 percent and it was really coming out good, I thought,” he said.
Walker threw mainly fastballs and changeups with a couple of 2-seam fastballs thrown in, and for a guy who has only thrown from the mound once in the last two weeks his location was surprisingly sharp. This was an added bonus for Walker, who showed his excitement about the session by leaping off the mound after the final pitch to shake his catcher’s hand and then flipping the ball over the fence to the fans.
“I was pumped because my arm felt real good and my location, I was spotting it pretty good, I thought. I was really happy about that,” he said.
Walker, who says he has experienced no soreness since he resumed throwing after the one-week layoff, said this bullpen felt more like his tenth rather than his second.
The shoulder soreness that caused him to miss time is still on his mind, however. He admits that he does think about it when he first wakes up in the morning and as he takes his first couple of throws each day. It is something he hopes to put behind him in the near future.
“Maybe in a week or two I will get to where I wake up, go to the field, play catch and never worry about it again,” he said.
For now there is more maintenance, more icing and more time on the stim machine to keep the inflammation down and help ensure that he does not get sore the next day. So far, so good, and Walker is looking forward to the next step, whatever that is.
“A live BP? Another bullpen?” he guessed. “I’m not sure. I am taking it day by day. I would like to get in a game, that would be nice.”