Results tagged ‘ Tyler Walker ’

Nats need to determine right field, bullpen

Before playing their home opener Monday against the Phillies, the Nationals have to determine who will platoon with Willie Harris in right field and be their seventh man out of the bullpen.

With Harris as the left-handed hitter, Washington is looking for a right-handed hitting complement. The choices are Mike Morse and Willy Taveras. Entering Tuesday’s action, Taveras had slim lead to be the guy, hitting .289. But Morse has come on strong lately, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored to raise his average to 288 after the Tuesday’s game against the Marlins. Taveras went hitless in three at-bats in the same game.

Versatility may be the deciding factor, however. While Taveras can play all three outfield positions, Morse can play at least six — corner outfield spots and all four infield positions.

“I’m just playing. I’m just having fun. The competition is the last thing I’m thinking about,” Morse said. “When I go out there and have fun, my talent comes out. Whatever happens, happens. I think one of us can help the team out. I’m going to keep trying to get some quality at-bats.”

As for the bullpen, the Nationals are seriously thinking about adding an extra reliever and not carry that fifth starter. The Nationals don’t need the fifth man until April 11 against the Mets.
Left-hander Jesse English and right-hander Todd Walker are two guys who have a chance to claim that final spot. Since his first outing of the spring, English hasn’t allowed a run in last five innings and has struck out eight batters.                          

“He’s pitching well,” manager Jim Riggleman said. “He is a guy who is taking advantage of an opportunity. He is competing for a job and he making a nice statement for himself like Craig Stammen did. So we have to consider that when we put the roster together.”

In his last six outings, Walker has allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings, while striking out five batters. It helps that he is healthy and his pitching mechanics are in order.

Walker couldn’t say that early in the spring as he gave up 11 runs in his first two outings. Walker had lower back issues, but decided to gut it out. It proved to be a mistake, but Walker never used his injury as an excuse. He wanted to make early impression by overpowering hitters. 

Walker making case to be in bullpen

The Nationals’ bullpen appears to be set with Miguel Batista, Jason Bergmann, Brian Bruney, Sean Burnett, Matt Capps and Tyler Clippard.

However, right-hander Tyler Walker is making a case that he should be part of the relief corps. In his last six outings, Walker has allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings, while striking out five batters. It helps that he is healthy and his pitching mechanics are in order.

Walker couldn’t say that early in the spring as he gave up 11 runs in his first two outings. Walker had lower back issues, but decided to gut it out. It proved to be a mistake, but Walker never used his injury as an excuse. He wanted to make early impression by overpowering hitters.  

“It was a combination of a tight back, bad mechanics and overthrowing. I tried to compensate for a tight lower back,” Walker said after Saturday’s game against the Braves. “I never refused the ball. That’s the type of player that I am. I’ll take the ball no matter what. You want to show the team you can pitch through a nagging injury. My back is feeling better and the mechanics are getting ironed out. I feel like I’m ready to go.”

This past offseason, Walker signed a Major League deal for $650,000. If he starts the season in the Minors, he will earn $120,000. Asked if Walker was safe to be on the 25-man roster because he has a track record of getting hitters out in the big leagues, manager Jim Riggleman said, “I wouldn’t say he is safe to be on it. You do the math and we could only carry 11 or 12 pitchers. So he’s not safe, but [he's not out either].”

Wang to have bullpen session; Walker roughed up

Nationals right-hander Chien-Ming Wang is expected to throw his first bullpen session sometime next week. It will be the first time he will throw off a mound since July 4 when he was with the Yankees.

Wang said he is hoping to throw at least 20 pitches during the session.

Since signing with the Nationals, Wang has thrown from 120 feet on flat ground. Washington is hoping that Wang will be able to pitch in a big league game by May. 
          
Over the past two seasons, Wang has pitched in 27 games. In 2008, he didn’t pitch after the All-Star break because of foot problems and this past season, he missed the Yankees’ World Series run because of his shoulder. 

Reliever Tyler Walker had another outing that he would like to forget, allowing six runs in 1 2/3 innings against the Tigers on Tuesday. He now has allowed 11 runs in 2 2/3 innings.

Walker said he is having problems with his fastball command.

“You have a tendency to let it rip and kind of overthrow the ball,” Walker said  “When I miss, I miss up. I have to find a way to get the ball consistently down in the strike zone, especially with the fastball. I feel the off-speed pitches are close to being good, but the fastball command is not there.” 

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