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.
“We haven’t had many games like this,” Dodgers manager Dave Robert said after last night’s loss to the Yankees. That’s for sure.
There were no wild walkoff hits. There were no home runs by Dodger batters. There were two, including a grand slam, from Didi Gregorius, however, and he and New York batters pounded Hyun-Jin Ryu, perhaps the stingiest pitcher in baseball this year, for seven runs on nine hits in four and a third as the Yankees beat the Dodgers 10-2 in Dodger Stadium.
Aaron Judge, who has been slumping something terrible, opened up the scoring with a solo home run in the third. Two batters later Gary Sánchez matched him with a blast of his own. An A.J. Pollock RBI single in the bottom half of the inning made it a 2-1 game but after that the Yankees stepped on the gas with a five-run fifth highlighted by a Didi Gregorius grand slam. Gleber Torres would homer in the sixth, Judge would single home a run in the eighth and Gregorius would strike again in the ninth with a solo homer for his second blast of the night. That one gave the Yankees 57 bombs in the month of August, which sets a team record. There’s still a week left in August too.
As for the Dodgers, Ryu was uncharacteristically rusty, though it probably should be noted that this was his second poor outing in a row. struggled through his second straight sub-par outing. The last time out he lost to Atlanta. allowing all four Braves’ runs in 5 2/3 innings as the Dodgers fell 4-3. His ERA came in to this game at a still-MLB-best 1.64, but those seven runs in fewer than five — his shortest outing in nearly two months — puffed it up to an even 2.00.
The Yankees scored just nine runs in their three losses in Oakland. Last night they beat that by one. And they brought themselves to within one game of the Dodgers for the best record in all of baseball, which would determine home field in the World Series should these two powerhouses meet.
For now, though, Roberts is limiting the implications of all of this to Friday night, saying “fortunately, it only counts for one loss.” Yep. But man, it was an ugly one.