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.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Astros and outfielder Michael Brantley are closing in on an agreement for a two-year contract in the $32 million range.
Brantley, 31, played a mostly full season last year for the first time since 2015. He hit .309/.364/.468 with 17 home runs, 76 RBI, 89 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 631 plate appearances. He made the AL All-Star squad for the third time in his career.
Brantley’s health, though, is why he had to settle for a two-year deal as opposed to a longer contract for a player of his caliber. He will take over in left field. In the event Brantley succumbs to injury woes, the Astros have top prospect Kyle Tucker waiting in the wings.
Update: According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, who also reports that the deal is in place, the Astros plan to rotate Brantley between left field, first base, and DH. That opens up some more playing time for Tucker.