Mariners calling up Taijuan Walker for Friday debut

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From Shannon Drayer of ESPN 710 AM in Seattle comes word that the Mariners will promote top pitching prospect Taijuan Walker from Triple-A Tacoma on Friday to start at Minute Maid Park against the Astros. It’ll be his major league debut.

Walker — the 43rd overall pick in the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft — has registered a 2.93 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 25 starts this season between the Double-A and Triple-A levels, striking out 160 batters and issuing only 57 walks over 141 1/3 innings.

The 21-year-old right-hander has a very bright future and will be able to get his feet wet down the stretch as the Mariners finish up another disappointing campaign. Seattle entered play on Wednesday with a 59-73 record.

Mets sign Matt Purke to minors deal

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The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.

Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.

While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.