The early news from the Mariners Tuesday is that RHP Taijuan Walker has been activated off of the 15-day disabled list and optioned to AAA Tacoma. Walker pitched five innings, giving up two runs on four hits and one walk on 77 pitches Monday. It was his third rehab start since re-starting the process on May 28.
This is just a procedural move as Walker was nearing the end of the 30-day rehab window that MLB allows for pitchers. Walker is still eligible to be recalled to the team in time to take the fifth spot in the rotation Saturday.
UPDATE: After talking with Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon in his office it sounds like the team wants Walker to continue pitching in AAA for awhile.
“I just want to see the kid get healthy and pitch well,” McClendon said. “I think it’s beyond trying to rush him. The ideal now is to get him built and get him pitching consistently and feeling good about what he is doing. From that point on, then we can make a decision.”
So who knows what that precisely means, but it sure sounds like Walker will be in Tacoma until he has a string of strong, comfortable outings. That may look like six, seven plus innings, 90-105 pitches and minimal walks, if any, in consecutive outings.
“I’m not really concerned about performance so to speak,” McClendon said. “I’m more concerned with durability and getting out there every five days and being consistent with what he’s doing.”
As far as the M’s lineup goes, the team sees Michael Saunders (shoulder) return to the lineup Tuesday while Justin Smoak (quadriceps) remains out and day-to-day. McClendon says Smoak is 70-75 percent still believes that Smoak will not need a DL stint. Meanwhile Logan Morrison’s (hamstring) allotted rehab period ends on Wednesday, it’s possible his return is imminent.
“Jack and I will talk about that in the next day or two,” McClendon said. “We’ll see.”
With that here are the lineups:
1. Willie Bloomquist 1b
2. James Jones (L) cf
3. Robinson Cano (L) 2b
4. Cole Gillespie dh
5. Kyle Seager (L) 3b
6. Mike Zunino c
7. Michael Saunders (L) rf
8. Dustin Ackley (L) lf
9. Brad Miller (L) ss
RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (4-2, 2.66 ERA)
1. Brett Gardner (L) lf
2. Derek Jeter ss
3. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) cf
4. Mark Teixiera (s) 1b
5. Carlos Beltran (s) dh
6. Brian McCann c
7. Yangervis Solarte (s) 3b
8. Ichiro Suzuki (L) rf
9. Brian Roberts (s) 2b
— LHP James Paxton has been playing catch the last couple of days. McClendon said the doctors are pleased with where he is, but he’s not near pitching off a mound just yet.