Mariners right-hander Taijuan Walker had to be scratched from what was supposed to be his final minor league rehab start Tuesday at Triple-A Tacoma and he headed to Seattle on Wednesday for tests.
The MRI results are in, according to Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune, and Walker has been diagnosed with a right shoulder impingement. He will be shut down from throwing for two weeks, and can now probably be ruled out through at least mid-May.
Walker was supposed to open the 2014 season as a member of Seattle’s starting rotation, but he battled shoulder problems all spring and landed on the 15-day disabled list before Opening Day.
The 21-year-old top pitching prospect registered an impressive 2.93 ERA, 1.196 WHIP, and 10.2 K/9 in 141 1/3 innings last season between the Double-A and Triple-A levels. He then made his MLB debut August 30.
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.