Manager Lloyd McClendon delivered some not so happy news on Friday morning, saying that prized pitching prospect Taijuan Walker has been shut down for seven days with inflammation in the bursa of his throwing shoulder.
“It’s a little bit of a setback,” McClendon said. “It is what it is. And we’ll just have to continue forward.”
The diagnosis was made by Dr. Edward Khalfayan – the Mariners medical director. Walker will undergo treatment as well take anti-inflammatories to try and get the inflammation in the bursa to subside.
“The MRIs were clean, they were good, there was no structural damage so everything is fine from that standpoint,” McClendon said.
Walker flew to Los Angeles on Thursday to meet with Dr. Neal ElAttrache for a second opinion on the shoulder. ElAttrache agreed with Khalfayan’s diagnosis and prescribed the similar course of action of rest and anti-inflammatories.
McClendon didn’t think that Walker would have to start his throwing program over from the beginning. The hope is that the seven days rest and treatment will allow to get back on the mound and maybe make it back for the season. But they won’t rush the process and will be ultra-careful when it comes to bringing him back.
“We’re not just talking about 2014, we’re hopefully talking about the next 15 years,” McClendon said. “We have to be cautious and we have to be smart. It’s frustrating for him, but I think it’s the best avenue to take is to error on the side of being cautious.”
Hisashi Iwakuma, who has been sidelined with a strained tendon in his middle finger, will meet with the hand specialist today. He hopes to be cleared to resume throwing. That might allow him to be ready for opening day.
But right now the Mariners’ rotation going into opening day is this:
1. Felix Hernandez
Obviously, lefty James Paxton, who will start today, and Erasmo Ramirez, who started yesterday, are likely to be in the rotation if they stay healthy and pitch up to at least an average level.
So there are three pitchers for the rotation.
That leaves holdovers Blake Beavan and Brandon Maurer, and veterans Scott Baker and Randy Wolf as possible candidates for the two final spots. Maurer has been battling a bad back, but did throw a bullpen yesterday. McClendon said he looked great. I guess you could also include still Hector Noesi in that group, though I don’t know why you would.
So there are a lot of issues with the rotation right now. McClendon sees it in a different way.
“Lot of opportunities and we have a lot of big arms to hopefully take advantage of those opportunities,” McClendon said. “We’ll see what happens. I just hope they don’t’ all eliminate themselves. Then we have a problem.”
“Paging Mr. Santana, Mr. Ervin Santana, you have a phone call from a 206 area code.”
Obviously with what happened to Danny Hultzen last year, there is some amount of skepticism or concern when the Mariners say the issue isn’t serious, which is fair.
It could be pointed out that Felix Hernandez was shut down at age 19 with bursitis in his shoulder. It could also be pointed out that Michael Pineda was diagnosed with bursitis in his shoulder with the Yankees. Clay Bucholz had shoulder bursitis last season. Injuries are different with each person.
Other notes …
OFFICIAL GAME NOTES: 02.28.14 ST Game Notes
McClendon said he has no timetable for when he wants to decide the starting shortstop. It could go up to the very end of camp.
Jesus Montero will get the start at first base. He obviously doesn’t look graceful out there, but McClendon praised his effort and willingness to take teaching. But games are really the only way he’ll get better.
Relievers scheduled to pitch after Paxton: Ramon Ramirez, Nick Hill, Yoervis Medina, Zach Miner, Carson Smith, Charlie Furbush, Dominic Leone.
- Here’s my story from yesterday’s paper on Robinson Cano’s first game with the M’s
- Tim Booth had this story on Cano’s cousin Burt Reynolds, who had a double in yesterday’s game.
- In this JP Morosi story on Fox, JP Arencibia makes it clear how they will pitch to Robinson Cano with runners on – they won’t.
- Here’s Lookout Landing’s game recap
- Fangraphs has the A’s top prospects list
- If you’ve never heard of Japhet Amador, then you need to click here. He makes Jesus Montero look small.