Mariners starter Taijuan Walker will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma on Wednesday, MLB.com’s Greg Johns reports. The 21-year-old right-hander was shut down during spring training due to bursitis in his right shoulder. He appeared to be on his way back after making two rehab starts on April 4 and 9, but he felt impingement in his shoulder and was shut down again.
The Mariners drafted Walker in the first round, 43rd overall, of the 2010 draft. He made his major league debut last season, posting a 3.60 ERA with 12 strikeouts and four walks in 15 innings over three starts. Walker has made two minor league rehab starts this season: one with Single-A High Desert in which he allowed a run over 4 1/3 innings, and another with Double-A Jackson in which he struck out 10 batters over five shutout innings.
If things progress as planned, Walker could rejoin the Mariners in early June.
Thursday is September 1, which means rosters expand. As a result, the Nationals plan to promote pitcher Mat Latos to the major league roster, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Latos had an opt-out clause for Monday, but after discussing the matter with the team, he agreed to stay at Triple-A Syracuse until Thursday.
Latos, 28, put up a 4.62 ERA over 11 starts with the White Sox before being released in mid-June. Nearly two weeks later, he signed a minor league contract with the Nationals.
In the Nationals’ minor league system, Latos has made three starts for the club’s Gulf Coast League team as well as three for Syracuse. In aggregate, the right-hander has yielded six runs (four earned) on 20 hits and 10 walks with 28 strikeouts in 28 innings.
Latos will likely pitch out of a long relief role for the Nationals and can be used as starting rotation insurance as well.
Mark Buehrle hasn’t officially retired, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in professional baseball since last October. Still, the Blue Jays wouldn’t mind having some insurance, so manager John Gibbons recently texted Buehrle, “You know, rosters expand in September,” Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports.
Buehrle’s response? He texted back a picture of a lake. Sounds like he’s not interested in making a return, at least this year.
Last year, at the age of 36, Buehrle went 15-8 with a 3.81 ERA with a 91/33 K/BB ratio in 198 2/3 innings while leading the league with four complete games. He fell 1 1/3 innings shy of a 15th consecutive 200-inning season. There are many worse ways to end a career.