Diamondbacks right-hander Taijuan Walker appeared to be on track to finish his Tommy John rehab and rejoin the rotation this spring, but an unfortunate setback will keep the hurler on the shelf for another six weeks. Manager Torey Lovullo revealed Friday that Walker was recently diagnosed with a capsule sprain in his right shoulder and will be shut down from throwing until he makes a full recovery.
The 26-year-old righty has not pitched a full season in the majors since 2017. He made just three starts at the major-league level last year, allowing five hits and five runs and striking out nine of 56 batters across 13 innings. By mid-April, he was dealing with a lingering case of forearm tightness and was later diagnosed with a partial tear of the UCL in his right elbow, forcing Tommy John surgery and bringing a swift end to his second campaign in Arizona.
The silver lining here, however slight it may be, is that Walker didn’t suffer any additional structural damage to his shoulder. Still, it seems less and less likely that he’ll have a big impact on the pitching staff in 2019, provided he’s able to return to the rotation at all.
The team, meanwhile, will press on with a rotation of Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray, Luke Weaver, and Merrill Kelly. Earlier this week, it looked as though they might lose another top-tier starter to injury when Greinke experienced some abdominal tightness, but USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the right-hander is scheduled to toss a bullpen on Saturday in hopes of avoiding the injured list altogether. Should the Diamondbacks choose to take precautionary measures with their starter, they’ll likely sideline him for no more than two starts.