The Athletic’s Zach Buchanan reports that Diamondbacks starter Taijuan Walker has a “UCL injury,” according to manager Torey Lovullo. Walker is seeking a second opinion. Lovullo said, “This information came as a surprise to me. I thought he would be OK.”
Walker left Saturday’s start against the Dodgers after two innings with right forearm tightness. This latest news suggests me may be headed for Tommy John surgery. That’s quite an unfortunate series of events for the 25-year-old Walker and for the Diamondbacks.
Last season, Walker had his best full season, finishing with a 3.49 ERA and a 146/61 K/BB ratio in 157 1/3 innings. This season, he had limited the opposition to five runs on 15 hits and five walks with nine strikeouts in 13 innings.
The Pirates are officially shutting down Chris Archer for the season, GM Neal Huntington revealed Sunday. It’s more of a formality than anything else, but, as the Pirates are currently out of postseason contention, there seems to be no point in forcing the right-hander to accelerate his recovery from right shoulder inflammation.
Archer, 30, sustained the injury in late August and was initially projected to return sometime during September. He’s been throwing from flat ground over the last several weeks, but there had been no indication that he was ready to resume starting duties for the club. He’ll end his 2019 run with a 3-9 record in 23 starts and a 5.19 ERA, 4.1 BB/9, 10.8 SO/9, and 0.7 fWAR across 119 2/3 innings pitched; not his worst performance to date, but a considerable step down from the sub-5.00 ERA and 2.6 fWAR he posted with the Rays and Pirates in 2018.
With two weeks left in the regular season, the Pirates will soon wrap up their fourth consecutive non-contending campaign. Following Saturday’s brutal 14-1 loss to the Cubs, they were mathematically eliminated from postseason qualification. They last reached the playoffs in 2015, though it’s been six years since they advanced past the wild card tiebreaker and 27 years since they advanced past the Division Series.