The Seattle Mariners are not getting good news these days. Specifically, Hisashi Iwakuma may not be ready for the start of the season and highly-touted pitcher Taijuan Walker is having shoulder issues.
Truthfully, which piece of news is worse? The fact that Iwakuma will not be ready to go after an impressive season in 2013 (14-6, 2.66 ERA)? Or, the news that the one of the top-rated prospects in all of baseball is having shoulder issues?
As a general rule, it is never good when the word “pitcher” is mentioned in the same sentence with the phrase “shoulder issues.”
Whether you think one piece of bad news is worse than the other depends on the time frame. Iwakuma is a short-term need, as he is supposed to fill the No.2 slot in the rotation behind Felix Hernandez.
Walker is more of a long-term concern. The 21-year-old right-hander is reputated to have ace-like talent, which means that the Mariners hope he can anchor a staff for a decade. Shoulder issues at this age are never a good sign, particularly when you are talking about the violent motion that is exacted on the arm of a professional pitcher.
Fans will hope that this is just a passing issue for Walker. The combination of Walker, James Paxton and Danny Hultzen was supposed to be the future of Mariners pitching. At the moment, Paxton is the only pitcher still standing.
Right now, the news is bad in the injury department. Hopefully there will be some swift healing, particular in Taijuan Walker’s young shoulder.
Stay tuned to the injury report.