The bullpen and bats didn’t hold up Saturday night, but the Mets must be feeling good about what they received from starting pitcher Taijuan Walker when he returned from the disabled list.
The 2021 All-Star pitched five shutout innings in a 4-1 loss to the Phillies, his first start in nearly three weeks. Walker had posted two scoreless frames in his first outing of the season on April 11 in Philadelphia before leaving with a shoulder injury that was later diagnosed as bursitis.
“I felt really good, just the shoulder and finally got through five runs, and I felt good with that,” said Walker, who was also slowed by a knee injury at the start of spring training. . “My shoulder feels good, my knee feels good. I can’t wait to get back to my routine and launch again in five days.
The 29-year-old right-hander said on Friday his “shoulder feels brand new” since receiving an injection while on the injured list. He allowed two singles – by Nick Castellanos at second and Alec Bohm at third – and walked two for 73 pitches before Trevor May relieved him with a 1-0 lead to start the sixth.
“I’m thinking one more outing where I’m limited on pitch count, but I feel like I’ll be able to go six to seven innings and keep up with our starters right now,” Walker said. . “Everybody dives deep into the games and that’s kind of my focus right now, to go out there and try to get the games deeper.”
Mets manager Buck Showalter is just happy to have Walker, who also picked Castellanos at first base after his single, healthy and available.
“It was good to see him back in the fight with us,” Showalter said. “It’s been hard for him to be out. I hope he’s put himself in a position to contribute.
“He had good life on his fastball, had all his pitches and he felt good physically. It was a tough decision in the fifth round, but I wanted him to get the fifth if I could. … He was close to where we wanted to take him, so I had a pitcher ready in case there was a problem there, but he was able to finish the fifth.
Walker’s next scheduled tour is likely to be in Philadelphia next weekend, which would mean his first three spread starts this season would be against Joe Girardi’s club.
“I feel like I have about six pitches now that I can pitch there,” Walker said. “I would like to throw more first pitch strikes and go forward more, but I think I’m just throwing them off balance. I think I gave up like a hard hit or two tonight. If I can limiting hard contact and keeping them off balance, I think I can have pretty good success.
New York Post