When Taijuan Walker could return to Mets’ rotation
PHILADELPHIA — Taijuan Walker’s back has shown improvement, but not to the point at which the Mets were comfortable sending him to the mound Sunday.
But he could return sooner rather than later.
“Everything from Tuesday on is in play,” manager Buck Showalter said Saturday, noting that Walker won’t be placed on the injured list.
If Walker pitches Tuesday, that would push Jacob deGrom back from the Subway Series. As it stands, the Mets have Max Scherzer and deGrom aligned to pitch in The Bronx against the Yankees on Monday and Tuesday.
But after the Mets beat the Phillies 8-2 in Game 1 of a doubleheader on Saturday, Showalter wasn’t committing to any scenario.
“We’ll have an idea after Taijuan gets through [workouts] on Monday,” Showalter said before the Mets’ 4-1 loss in the nightcap. “Until then we won’t make any commitment. We have to keep our options open.”
Walker departed his Tuesday start against the Braves after two innings with back discomfort. A subsequent MRI exam revealed a bulging disk in his lower back. Walker has resumed throwing in recent days.
With Walker unavailable for Sunday, the team announced it will call up Jose Butto from Triple-A Syracuse for his major league debut. A right-hander, Butto has pitched twice for Syracuse since his promotion from Double-A Binghamton. In 22 appearances overall in the minor leagues this season, Butto is 6-6 with a 4.12 ERA.
Showalter was told Braves players had their soft-serve ice cream machine back (it was removed earlier in the season) at Truist Park. The team’s general manager, Alex Anthopoulos, had promised that concession if the Braves won three of four games in their series against the Mets last week in Atlanta.
“What did they get taken away for losing four of five to us?” Showalter said, referring to the series between the teams earlier this month at Citi Field.
Trevor Williams said he fed off the large contingent of Mets fans in attendance at Citizens Bank Park.
“It always seems like we’re playing a home game with Mets fans in the crowd,” Williams said. “For them to make this trip, I thought I heard the 7 Line today, so for them to make the trip out here it’s special for us and it doesn’t go unnoticed in our clubhouse.”