May 24, 2024

Taijuan Walker of the Philadelphia Phillies has made two injury rehab starts and is scheduled have a bullpen session this week.

Taijuan Walker, the injured starting pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, has only made two rehab starts and will return to the city on Friday for a bullpen.

Things might become interesting after that. According to MLB.com, Walker could be activated from the 15-day injury list earlier than expected. The report did not say how long afterward.

Walker, who was placed on the injured list at the beginning of the season due to a right shoulder impingement, would benefit from a rapid return.

Walker told MLB.com that he feels prepared to return.

“I told them I felt good,” Walker said. “Yes, I told them we had built up enough. I thought my stuff was fairly sharp yesterday. You’re aware of your escape routes. I mean, I believe that in a new environment, with a little more adrenaline, things simply act up a little bit more.”

Walker made his second injury rehab start on Tuesday for Triple-A Lehigh Valley, allowing three hits, three walks, and one strikeout in 4.2 innings. His fastball velocity remained consistent from his first rehab appearance, reaching 92 mph.

The most crucial aspect of the equation is that Walker tossed 78 pitches, a week after pitching 47 in his first rehab start at Class A Clearwater.

The Phillies’ original plan was for Walker to make four rehab starts, gradually increasing his pitch count until he reached 100. That would have put him on schedule to return in early May.

He was slated to throw 60 pitches for Clearwater, but he only threw 47 across four innings.

 

Taijuan Walker's recovery quicker than expected

 

Walker hopped 31 pitches between his first and second starts. So, in actuality, he’s back on track. However, jumping that many pitches between rehab starts may imply Walker is further advanced than the Phillies anticipated.

The bullpen may offer the Phillies a true sense of whether Walker is ready to be activated or requires at least one more rehab start.

The good news is that the Phillies won’t have to rush. The remainder of the starting lineup is healthy.

Walker is an 11-year veteran who made his Phillies debut last season, going 15-6 with a 4.38 ERA in 31 starts. He struck out 138 and walked 71 in 172.2 innings, the latter being a career high for the 31-year-old.

Walker has also thrown for Seattle, Arizona, and Toronto, and his career record is 69-56 with a 3.97 ERA.

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