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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Mariners' Taijuan Walker feeling 'normal again'

By on 3/13/2014 06:00:00 PM

The Seattle Mariners' potential front-line starter Taijuan Walker has progressed steadily since suffering inflammation in his right shoulder late in the offseason. He has started throwing from 120 feet and more, and on Thursday, he threw 25 pitches in a bullpen session. NBC Sports' Rotoworld quoted Walker as saying that he is starting to feel "normal again."

The Mariners do not expect Walker to begin the season on the active roster on Opening Day, but mid-to-late-April looks more realistic.

Walker is a top pitching prospect of the Mariners. He was 9-10 in the Minors last season but with a 2.93 ERA in 25 combined starts at Double-A and Triple-A. He struck out 160 hitters in 141.1 innings. He had a successful Major League debut in three late-season starts (1-0, 3.60).

Walker projects to make the Mariners' rotation as soon as he is ready, and with Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma, Walker could make for a very formidable front end of the rotation, especially with Fernando Rodney now protecting leads and closing games for the Mariners.

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