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Taijuan Walker played catch today for the first time since being shut down with inflammation in the bursa of his throwing shoulder. He tossed with Mark Rogers for about three minutes from roughly 60 feet. The good signs were that his arm remained attached to his body throughout the process and his shoulder didn’t burst into flames.
Pitching coach Rick Waits said Walker would play “very light” catch. If you look at the video, a professional pitcher’s definition of light catch is different than ours.
“It felt really good,” Walker said. “It was only 60 feet, so I’m not really getting out there, but it was like a test to see how it felt and it went well.”
Feeling good means?
“It feels normal,” he said.
And that’s what the Mariners want to hear. Admittedly, Walker had some anxiety about today.
“I was a little nervous about it, especially being out seven days and not really knowing what to expect,” he said. “But I was pretty happy with the results.”
Walker was happy to be doing something other than receiving treatment.
“It sucks being out for any period of time,” he said. ” Seven days felt like months. I was getting bored. I was looking forward to this day all week. I can’t imagine being out for longer. It really sucks watching everyone go out there and compete and pitch and have fun. And I’m just sitting there.”
It’s the first step in a long road back for Walker. There will be more catch sessions – he’ll throw from 75 feet tomorrow – that must be pain free before he moves up to long toss. There must be multiple pain-free long toss sessions before he moves to bullpens and so forth.
“It’s mentally tough because you really want to be out there and you really want to push through it,” he said. “At the same time, you know you have to take it slow.”