Mariners pitcher Taijuan Walker will resume his spring training throwing program Thursday. The goal for Walker, sidelined since Friday after tests showed inflammation in his throwing shoulder, is to rejoin the starting rotation by the middle of April.
The organization’s No. 1 prospect will play catch Thursday, If his arm is healthy, he will start long-toss sessions before transitioning to bullpen workouts. His rehabilitation program is expected to last three weeks.
Walker went 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA, 12 strikeouts, and four walks in 15 innings over three starts last season. He won his major league debut Aug. 30, yielding two hits and one unearned run in five innings, as the Mariners beat the Houston Astros 7-1.
Before last week’s setback, Walker was slated to start the 2014 season in the starting rotation, presumably behind ace Felix Hernandez and No. 2 Hisashi Iwakuma. Injuries to Walker and Iwakuma (strained finger tendon on his throwing hand), both of whom aren’t expected ready by the regular season, puts Seattle’s rotation in flux. It’s the subject of Mariners beat writer Bob Dutton’s latest story.