Phillies Injury Update: Taijuan Walker expected to return to rotation, Turnbull to bullpen

Phillies Taijuan Walker
Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Taijuan Walker delivers during the first inning of the team’s baseball game against the Chicago Cubs on Thursday, June 29, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Faster than most have expected, Taijuan Walker seems to be ready to return to the Phillies next week.

Walker started the season on the injured list with an impingement in his right shoulder. At first, it sounded like the Phillies were going to take their time with getting Walker back. It was reported that they wanted him throwing 100 pitches in rehab starts before activation.

On Tuesday, Walker threw 78 pitches at Triple-A Lehigh Valley in just his 2nd rehab start. According to Todd Zolecki, Walker expects his Sunday rehab start to be his last.

Zolecki also reports that Spencer Turnbull is expected to head to the bullpen with Walker’s return.

Turnbull definitely didn’t make that an easy decision for the Phillies. He trails Ranger Suarez by just 7 points for the Phillies’ best start ERA at 1.80. The Phillies have won all 3 of Spencer Turnbull’s start to begin the season.

Phillies Options

It’s the best Turnbull has looked since before his injury in 2021 when he had a 2.88 ERA through 9 starts. As Zolecki pointed out, Turnbull hasn’t thrown over 60 IP since his first full year in the league in 2019.

If that situation sounds familiar, the Phillies made the same tough decision with Matt Strahm in 2023. Strahm filled in for Ranger Suarez, starting 6 games early in the season with a 3.51 ERA and 2.51 FIP.

Strahm hadn’t started more than 1 game in the majors since 2019. He went on to have a great year out of the pen, posting a 2.82 ERA with 65 K in 54.1 IP. He also reached 93 IP between the regular season and playoffs.

Just like Strahm, Turnbull will most likely have the chance to start again this season. He’ll move into a longman situation once Walker returns. For $2 million, Turnbull continues to be a solid signing for the Phils.

Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)