The Mariners expect gifted young right-hander Taijuan Walker to be a big part of their 2014 rotation, but things on that front are off to a rocky start. Walker was already behind schedule this spring because of shoulder discomfort, and now comes this:
#Mariners shut down RHP Taijuan Walker for seven days after exam in Los Angeles reveals shoulder inflammation.— Bob Dutton (@TNT_Mariners) February 28, 2014
There's no cause to think it's anything terribly serious just yet, but ongoing shoulder problems are certainly troubling, particularly in such a young arm. Even if it's nothing, Walker may not be able to get into game shape in time to be a part of the opening day rotation.
Walker, age 21, last season pitched to a 3.60 ERA in 15 innings for the Mariners. Across parts of four minor-league seasons, he owns an ERA of 3.49 and a K/BB ratio of 2.68. Walker entered last season ranked as the no. 18 prospect by Baseball America and no. 5 prospect by MLB.com.