June 25, 2024

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Taijuan Walker has been diagnosed with a right shoulder impingement, leading to his placement on the injured list at the start of the season, as disclosed by Walker to reporters, including Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, during a press conference on Sunday.

Walker had already faced setbacks earlier in spring training due to knee soreness, further complicating his readiness for the season. While he is expected to miss a minimum of 15 days, his return timeline is uncertain as he will need time to regain strength and readiness. Rob Thomson, speaking on the Phillies broadcast, expressed optimism about the injury not posing long-term concerns, mentioning that Walker is anticipated to resume throwing in approximately five days.

In his recent spring start against the Orioles, Walker struggled, conceding seven runs in just 2 2/3 innings. The performance was marred by issues with command and reduced velocity, particularly noticeable in his fastball, which ranged from the high 80s to low 90s.

Despite Walker stating that his shoulder feels healthy and his physical tests showing strength, he acknowledged that the ball isn’t coming out as expected. He believes that some rest will help alleviate the issue.

With Walker’s injury sidelining him, Spencer Turnbull will step into the rotation to start the season, with plans for him to participate in a simulated game in Lehigh Valley on Friday.

The Phillies’ pitching staff for Opening Day is nearly set, with Zack Wheeler slated to start. Matt Strahm, recently extended, will join José Alvarado, Gregory Soto, Jeff Hoffman, and Seranthony Domínguez in the bullpen. The final bullpen spots are likely to be filled by Connor Brogdon, Yunior Marte, and Luis Ortiz, with Cristian Pache favored for the last bench position, although the team is reportedly considering adding another left-handed hitting outfielder.

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