The Mariners Tuesday returned RHP Taijuan Walker from his rehab assignment, activated him from the disabled list and optioned him to the AAA Tacoma Rainiers. Walker is scheduled to pitch Saturday. But it could be with the Mariners, since No. 5 starter Erasmo Ramirez is also slated to make his next start the same day.
Walker has to remain with the Rainiers for at least 10 days, unless he replaces a player on the disabled list.
Ramirez did not allow a run in Monday’s victory at Tampa Bay, but didn’t pitch the necessary five innings for the win. Ramirez lasted 4.2, walked five and was in trouble throughout. He is 1-4 with a 5.97 ERA in eight starts this season.
Walker made five starts this season, including one with short A High Desert, one with AA Jackson and three with Tacoma. He is 1-1, with a 3.72 ERA.
Walker, 22 in August, entered spring training with a legitimate shot at making the Mariners’ rotation. In three late-season start in 2013, he posted a 1-0 record with a 3.60 ERA. But he experienced shoulder stiffness early in camp, and then was shut down for a second time after making rehab at Class A Clinton and Jackson in early April.
Walker is rated as the Mariners’ No. 1 prospect and the No. 6 prospect overall by MLB.com. He joined the franchise as a 2009 first-round supplemental draft pick.