Phillies Injury News: Taijuan Walker Heads to the IL

Phillies Injury News: Taijuan Walker Heads to the IL Mar 9, 2024; Clearwater, Florida, USA; Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Taijuan Walker (99) throws a pitch against the Toronto Blue Jays in the first inning at BayCare Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports


After a series of disastrous outings, the Philadelphia Phillies have placed starting pitcher Taijuan Walker on the 15-day injured list with “right index finger inflammation.” In a corresponding move, the club has recalled righty Michael Mercado from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Walker was set to start on Wednesday in Detroit; however, he will be replaced by former Tiger Spencer Turnbull.


See ya, Taijuan?

The Phillies now face a dilemma, should Walker return to the starting rotation when he is deemed healthy enough to pitch? 


In parts of two seasons with the Phils, Walker is 18-9 with a 4.67 ERA, 7.2 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, and a 1.35 WHIP in 225.2 innings pitched. Outside of the win total, Waker’s stats show a mediocre pitcher that is barely making it into the 5th inning on a regular basis. While eye opening for a pitching staff that has three of the top five ERA leaders, Walker’s stats are in line with his career averages. In short, to paraphrase the late Dennis Green: Taijuan Walker is who we thought he is!


And that’s not good enough for a team that has World Series championship aspirations. 

Walker was famously not allowed to pitch in the 2023 MLB Postseason and took his frustrations to social media shortly after the Phillies were eliminated by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Manager Rob Thomson and the front office did a good enough job quelling any resentment and the issue didn’t linger. Walker was given the opportunity to EARN the fifth starter spot in Spring Training but was once again woefully ineffective. But that was due to an apparent injury and because of 18-million reasons he was GIVEN the spot when healthy. A liability every fifth day, Walker might’ve just made his last start in a Phillies uniform.


About Michael Mercado

The Phillies have added Michael Mercado to the roster in place of Walker. The Phillies acquired the 25-year-old right-hander in the offseason from the Tampa Bay Rays. Mercado opened eyes in Spring Training before being sent to Triple-A Lehigh Valley to begin the 2024 season. Mercado K’d five and only allowed one walk in just over five innings pitched during Grapefruit League play. 

A former 2nd round pick of the Rays in the 2017 MLB Draft, Mercado is 1-1 with a 1.71 ERA, 44 K, 23 BB, and a 1.14 WHIP in 47.1 innings pitched for the IronPigs. An area of concern for Mercado is his walk rate, 4.4 BB/9.

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