the 2014 draft: A five star player rejoins the Phillies lineup.

the 2014 draft: A five star player rejoins the Phillies lineup.

Phillies manager Rob Thomson to headline event at The Museum

The Phillies are about to remove Taijuan Walker from the rotation. if only momentarily.

Walker’s right index finger was swollen, and he was put on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday. The change took effect on June 22nd.

On Wednesday, in Detroit of all places, Spencer Turnbull will make his Phillies’ rotation debut against the team that selected him in the 2014 draft, had many run-ins with him in 2023, and non-tendered him in November.

Michael Mercado, a right-hander, was brought up from Triple A to replace Walker on the playing squad. He’ll make relief appearances.

Walker’s right hand is afflicted by a blister. With a 5.60 ERA, poor command, decreased velocity, and the absence of his main out pitch, the splitter, he has not performed well in his ten starts.

In Friday’s loss to the Diamondbacks, Walker’s fastball averaged just 90.3 mph, which was over a full mile below his season average. Compared to 93.1 and 92.6 last year, his four-seam fastball has averaged 91.6 this season and his sinker 91.1 overall.

Even worse, this season’s splitter, which last season limited opponents to a.210 batting average with a 24% whiff rate, has produced an opponents’ batting average of.417 with a mere 16.5% whiff rate.

Manager Rob Thomson responded, “Don’t know, don’t know,” when asked how much time Walker may lose. It’s all about having the ability to toss his split. What has truly impacted him is that. He can still throw the fastball with no problems due to the blister. That occurs when he intertwines his fingers with the ball.

It has been ongoing for some time. It appears and disappears. Our goal is to eliminate it completely.

Turnbull, who took over the No. 5 position in the rotation in April until Walker recovered from shoulder injury, is the Phillies’ ready-made successor in the rotation. In six starts during the early part of the season, Turnbull recorded a 1.67 ERA while going 2-0. Since then, he has intermittently pitched in long relief or lopsided games as he attempts to establish some sort of rhythm in an unusual position.

Turnbull hasn’t had an easy transition, but he will now be in a more comfortable position. On Wednesday, Thomson plans to limit him to about 70 pitches. Turnbull threw 49 on Friday during his most recent relief appearance.

What happens to Walker when he’s prepared to go back is still up in the air. The remaining $18 million of his pay for this season and the $36 million combined in 2025–2026 are still owed to him by the Phillies. He dropped to at least fifth on the Phillies’ starting pitcher depth chart after they were uncomfortable utilizing him in the playoffs the previous season.

Walker’s function is similarly not very flexible. He had only appeared in relief once in the previous ten years, and because he takes longer to warm up than some starters, he was only added to the playoff roster in case last October’s extra-inning game got out of hand.

At Triple A, Mercado has been dominant, giving up two runs or fewer in 13 of his 14 games. During his previous three starts, he has been stretched out considerably, reaching 91 pitches twice. His ERA is 1.71. With a fastball that reaches 96–97 mph, Mercado might be used in lengthy relief, but Thomson also stated that he would feel at ease utilizing him in one-inning stints as “the stuff plays.”

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