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'Minor' bulging disc may keep Taijuan Walker from next start

Matthew Roberson, New York Daily News on

Published in Baseball

ATLANTA — Mets right-handed pitcher Taijuan Walker, last seen throwing just two innings on Tuesday night before leaving with back spasms, took some time out of his treatment to explain how he’s feeling.

“A lot better than expected,” he reported. “Tuesday, I would say, was a lot, a lot of pain. One of the worst pains I’ve ever felt. So with where I’m at today, I’m a little shocked.”

Walker said his MRI revealed a bulge in one of his discs that he immediately declared “minor” and “nothing too concerning.”

“They use a lot of big words,” Walker said of the team doctors. “I don’t know.”

Walker played catch from 60 feet on Thursday, rode the elliptical and did what he called a “modified lower body workout.” He does not know when he’ll throw a bullpen, which, under his normal routine, would have happened on Thursday. He and the Mets are not fully committed to the idea of him making his scheduled start on Sunday, but they also have not ruled it out.

“We’ve been doing a lot of treatment, a lot of exercises, just trying to stabilize the core and stuff.”

The Mets have Chris Bassitt ready to throw Friday’s game against the Phillies, and the team elected to send him to Philadelphia before Thursday’s game to avoid the potential situation of him arriving at the hotel in the wee hours of the morning. After that, it will be David Peterson and Trevor Williams in some order for Saturday’s doubleheader. With Sunday being Walker’s day, the Mets are hoping that he feels well enough to pitch, otherwise it will likely be the currently rehabbing Tommy Hunter and some combination of relievers and minor league call-ups.

 

“It doesn’t really make sense to push it,” Walker said. “Obviously, if I’m feeling 100 percent, I’ll go out there. I don’t want to go out there at 90 percent and make it worse, then I’m on the IL and missing two, three, four weeks.”

Carlos Carrasco is already on the 15-day IL with an oblique strain that’s expected to be a three- to four-week injury. For a team fighting to stay on top of the National League East, losing another starting pitcher for any type of prolonged period is a harrowing thought.

“I think it’s important to listen to my body,” Walker offered. “Down the stretch and into the playoffs is probably when I’m most needed.”

A reporter also reminded Walker that he is 30 years old now — the big righty celebrated that milestone on Aug. 13 — and that little back issues can become much more common at that age.

“The older we get, we really have to stay on our routines,” Walker agreed. “We don’t want any more flare ups.”

©2022 New York Daily News. Visit nydailynews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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