Following an injury wrecked rookie season Mariners right-hander Taijuan Walker went to the Arizona Fall League to recoup some of the innings he lost, but after making just two starts the 22-year-old has decided to leave the AFL.
Walker was scheduled to pitch Saturday, but was scratched. Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik offered the following explanation via released statement:
Taijuan is completely healthy and was very impressive in his two outings, but made a personal decision that he needed to return home at this time. He will continue with his offseason program and we look forward to seeing him at spring training in February.
There was no sign of injury, as Walker posted a 2.00 ERA with an 11/2 K/BB ratio in his two AFL starts, but he logged just nine innings after team officials indicated they wanted him to throw 25 or so.
Walker was a first-round draft pick in 2010 and came into this season ranked as a top-20 prospect by Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and MLB.com. When healthy he’s posted a 2.89 ERA with 46 strikeouts in 53 innings for the Mariners and spent the majority of this season as a 21-year-old, so his health plays a huge part in Seattle’s future.