August 29, 2013 at 2:27 PM
Taijuan Walker looking forward to MLB debut tomorrow night
Taijuan Walker was out throwing a football around with some fellow Mariners before batting practice today. He’s likely to be doing a whole lot of that kind of time-killing stuff between now and his major league debut tomorrow night.
Inside the visitors’ clubhouse here in Houston, Walker said moments ago that he probably won’t get much sleep tonight.
“Usually, on my start nights, I don’t sleep,” he said. “I go to be around 3. For some reason, I just sit up all night doing nothing.”
So, there you go. Might try tweeting to him @tai_walker. Who knows? He’ll probably tweet you back.
The lack of sleep doesn’t seem to impact Walker when he does take the mound.
“For some reason, I feel like, on my start days, I’m a new person,” he said. “If I’m sore, it just goes away. It’s like I’m a new person.”
So, that part’s good. Despite the penny-pinching Astros fielding the equivalent of a Class AAA squad at times, Walker says he’s yet to face any of them in them minors. But he’s still looking forward to facing them.
“Just to be up here with a big league club, it’s exciting,” he said.
The Mariners told him about the promotion after his AAA game yesterday. They had to co-ordinate it by waiting until the end of their loss to Texas yesterday, so Walker was on-standby in his manager’s office. Finally, he got the news.
By the time he got on the phone to his mother, Nellie Garcia, who raised him on her own and is known for being highly active on Twitter in following his career, she’d already gotten wind of the news.
“It wasn’t much of a surprise when I called her, but it was still exciting,” he said. “My brothers and sisters were there and they got on the phone and just started screaming.”
He’s gotten re-acquainted with several of his former minor league teammates who made it up to the Mariners ahead of him. Brandon Maurer is one of those and has told Walker that it’s “the same game” in the big leagues and that he should avoid changing anything up unless he absolutely has to.
Walker says he’s worked hard ths year to fine-tune all aspects of his game.
He says his secondary stuff has gotten better. His curveball has been improving the last few starts, the changeup is “getting there” while his cutter has become his best pitch after his four-seam fastball.
So, we’ll see. Walker says he didn’t feel too many butterflies touring Minute Maid park from field level, but expects them to hit just as he takes the mound tomorrow.
Michael Morse is in the clubhouse, but stayed confined to private areas where the media could not ask him questions. Morse is awaiting word on whether the Mariners will tade him to Baltimore, or allow the Orioles to simply keep him on a waiver claim.