Taijuan Walker diagnosed with shoulder impingement

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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.

Bryce Harper will participate in the Home Run Derby if he makes the All-Star team

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Bryce Harper has, in recent years, declined participation in the Home Run Derby, with his last go at it coming in 2013, losing to Yoenis Cespedes in the final round. With the All-Star Game taking place at Nationals Park in Washington, however, he has changed his mind, saying today that he will compete if he is selected for the All-Star team.

Harper is currently second in voting among National League outfielders, so he stands a pretty good chance of making it. Even if he falls off in the voting, you have to assume that the powers that be will nudge NL manager A.J. Hinch to select Harper as a reserve, partially because of his actual power — he does have 19 homers so far this year — but mostly for his star power.

Simply put, you know dang well that both Major League Baseball and the Nationals want a home town guy with big time star power in the Derby, even if he’s not having as good a year as he’s capable of. As such, figure to see Harper hitting long balls in D.C. on July 16.