By Shannon Drayer
PEORIA, Ariz. – Mariners pitcher Taijuan Walker has suffered what manager Lloyd McClendon called “a little bit of a setback.”
Walker, who reported feeling shoulder soreness shortly after pitchers and catchers began workouts in Peoria earlier this month, was originally scheduled to throw on flat ground Tuesday with the hope being that he could get back on a mound by the end of the week. Instead, he took a trip to the Kerland-Jobe clinic in Los Angeles Thursday, where doctors confirmed what Mariners medical director Dr. Ed Khalfayan diagnosed as inflammation in the right shoulder.
He will be kept from throwing the next five to seven days.
“This is a little bit of a setback, yes,” McClendon said. “It is what it is and we have just got to continue to move forward.”
McClendon stressed that MRIs on Walker’s shoulder showed no structural damage but that the Mariners would be extremely cautious with their young prospect.
“This guy, we’re not just talking about 2014,” he said. “We are hopefully talking about the next 15 years. We have to be cautious and we have to be smart. Err on the side of caution.”
The Mariners are already down one starter with Hisashi Iwakuma not throwing due to a strained tendon in the middle finger of his right hand. He is scheduled to see the hand specialist Friday afternoon, after which we could learn more about a timetable for a return.
For now, McClendon is looking for one of the numerous starters in camp to step up.
“A lot of opportunities,” he answered when asked if the Mariners had enough in camp to fill the current rotation needs. “We have a lot of big arms to hopefully take advantage of those opportunities. Like I said, I just hope they don’t all eliminate themselves. Then we have got a problem.”