According to MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert, new Diamondbacks pitcher Taijuan Walker said he was dealing with 10 bone spurs in his right foot, which impacted his ability to push off and use his lower body. The biggest bone spur was three-fourths of an inch in size, Gilbert adds.
Moving from the more pitcher-friendly Safeco Field in Seattle to the more hitter-friendly Chase Field in Arizona, Walker said he plans to add a two-seam fastball in an attempt to keep the ball on the ground. The 24-year-old last season allowed 27 home runs in 134 1/3 innings. As a percentage of fly balls, his 17.6 percent home run rate was eighth-highest among pitchers who logged at least 130 innings. Despite the home run issues, Walker did manage to keep his ERA at 4.22 while averaging better than three strikeouts for every one walk. If he’s able to tamp down the homers, it will be interesting to see if he can live up to his potential with the Diamondbacks.
Last month, free agent right-hander Bartolo Colon told reporters that he’d be open to taking a minor league deal in 2018, but only if he was guaranteed a return to the Mets’ system. The 44-year-old starter is nearing the end of a 20-year career, and it makes sense that he’d want to have one last hurrah in the city where he had some of his most productive years.
Now, Twins starter Ervin Santana tells Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, it looks like the Mets might also be open to a reunion. It’s doubtful that Colon has all that much left in the tank, especially following a combined 7-14 record and 6.48 ERA for the Braves and Twins last year, but he’s not necessarily looking to reproduce the 15+ win, sub-4.00 ERA totals of years past.
Instead, Santana says, Colon is seeking the opportunity to win just six more games. He’ll enter the 2018 season five wins shy of the all-time record for a Latin American-born player, and is hoping to claim that title for himself before he enters retirement in 2019. Former Orioles and Expos hurler Dennis Martinez currently holds the record after clinching his 245th win back in 1998. While it took Colon a full season of starts to come up with even seven wins in 2017, he’s only one year removed from a 15-win campaign in 2016. Provided that the Mets are willing to gamble on him again, the milestone may not be that far out of reach.