Taijuan Walker to begin rehab assignment on Wednesday

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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.

The Cards dealt Stephen Piscotty to the A’s, in part, so he could be near his ailing mother

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Last night we wrote about the rumored deal between the Cardinals and the Athletics for Stephen Piscotty. The deal is now official, with Piscotty going to Oakland for minor leaguers Yairo Munoz and Max Schrock.

Something else emerged about the deal today: a big reason why St. Louis traded Piscotty to Oakland as opposed to another team was so that he could be near his mother, who was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease last May. Piscotty and his family are from Pleasanton, California, about 35 miles from Oakland.

Here’s Cardinals GM John Mozeliak:

This was certainly a baseball trade — Piscotty became expendable for the Cardinals after they acquired Marcell Ozuna yesterday — but it was one which could’ve been made with any team with a couple of red or white chip prospects. That Mozeliak considered Piscotty’s personal situation in making the deal with the A’s is a credit to him and his staff.

The 26-year-old Piscotty hit .235 with nine homers and 39 RBIs in 107 games last season. He has hit .268 with 38 homers and 163 RBIs in 2+ major league seasons. He agreed to a six-year, $33.5 million contract extension last spring.

As for the prospects in return: Munoz, 22, hit .300 with 13 homers and 68 RBIs this year for Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville. Schrock, 23, batted .321 with seven homers and 46 RBIs for Midland, and was a Texas League All-Star.