By Shannon Drayer
PEORIA, Ariz. – Taijaun Walker made his return to action of sorts Thursday morning, playing catch for 3 minutes under the watch of a trainer and pitching coach Rick Waits. He threw from 60 feet and all appeared to go well.
“I felt really good,” Walker said after the morning workout. “Kind of like a test to see how I felt, and I think we are good.”
It has been a tough week for Walker, who had to watch others around him prepare for the season and pitch in games while he stayed back and received treatment for shoulder inflammation.
“It sucks being out for any period of time, but I felt like seven days was like months,” he said. “I was getting bored. I was looking foward to today all week.”
He admitted to being a little bit nervous not knowing what it would be like to throw after seven days off, but he was happy with the results.
“It feels good, so I will move on tomorrow a little longer and see how that goes,” he said.
Walker should throw from 75-80 feet on Friday and if he reports no discomfort he should continue to stretch it out. There is no timetable for return as of yet, but once he progresses to throwing bullpens we should be able to get an idea of when we could see him on the mound for the Mariners provided there are no more setbacks.
The morning was not without incident as shortly after Walker finished his throwing session, Felix Hernandez hit Waits in the leg with an errant throw. Felix was very apologetic about hitting his coach, who said he was just fine.
“Felix doesn’t throw hard enough to hurt me,” Waits joked.
Also seen on the warmup field was Hisashi Iwakuma sneaking a couple of tosses into the fence. No worries here though as he was gripping the ball ever so lightly and did not appear to use the splinted finger at all. Clearly he is antsy to get back out there but will have to wait a couple weeks longer.