Good news from Mariners camp, as 21-year-old top prospect Taijuan Walker resumed throwing off a mound today after being shut down with shoulder inflammation last month.
Walker threw a 25-pitch bullpen session and afterward told Greg Johns of MLB.com that he “had a big smile on my face” and “today was a big relief.”
It’s worth noting that Walker threw only fastballs and the session was held privately so the media couldn’t watch and report on it, so he’s still a long way from being ready for regular season action. For now Johns reports that Walker will play catch Friday and then advance to throwing around 40 pitches in his next mound session.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Angels and reliever Cody Allen are in agreement on a one-year contract, pending a physical. The value of the contract is not yet known.
Allen, 30, was looking for an opportunity to close and the Angels can certainly provide that. He will likely be the favorite to break camp as the closer. 2018 was the roughest year of his career, however, as he finished with a 4.70 ERA, 27 saves, and a 80/33 K/BB ratio in 67 innings. Among Allen’s six full seasons, his 27.7 strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate represented career-worsts. FanGraphs also shows him losing nearly a full MPH on his average fastball velocity.
The Angels lost closer Keynan Middleton to Tommy John surgery early last season and he likely won’t return until the second half of the 2019 season. Blake Parker, who handled save situations in Middleton’s place, was non-tendered by the Angels in November and ended up signing with the Twins. The closer’s role is Allen’s to lose, it seems.