PORT ST. LUCIE – After starting camp in caution mode, Taijuan Walker seems ready to go with a roar.
In a strong performance Thursday night, the right-hander fired off 3²/₃ scoreless innings in the Mets’ 7-3 exhibition loss to the Nationals at Clover Park. He left after throwing 54 pitches over which he conceded three hits and batted two.
Walker underwent surgery in January to remove damaged cartilage from his right knee, leaving the Mets to proceed with extra care when camp began three weeks ago. But Walker cleared pretty much every hurdle.
“It’s not over yet, but I’m confident about where I’m at right now,” Walker said. “The knee feels great, the shoulder is still building. My pitches feel really good.”
Walker will serve one last time in spring training Tuesday before starting the season for the first time on April 11 in Philadelphia.
“The goal is to be around five [innings]75 [pitches] for my first start of the regular season,” said Walker. “I might be a little ahead of that, but we’ll see how I feel in five days.”
Tomas Nido was denied a home run when the umpires ruled he ran off a promotional tarp behind the left-center fence of the game.
Nido stopped at second base with a double. Instant replay is not used for spring training games, but the TV feed clearly showed Nido’s ball was a homer.
Buck Showalter protested the call but got nowhere. In Showalter’s post-game press conference, it was mentioned that it’s spring training for the referees as well.
“All four?” said Showalter.
Brandon Nimmo and Mark Canha each lost fly balls in the twilight (an error and a double, respectively), allowing the Nationals to score twice against Seth Lugo in the fifth inning.
“The lights are better here than the places we’ve played, I can tell you that,” Showalter said. “I was proud that they didn’t drop out entirely, hoping it would come into view at some point. It’s a helpless feeling.”
Tylor Megill and David Peterson threw 78 and 73 pitches, respectively, in a simulated game.
As expected, Robinson Cano started at first base. The veteran infielder last played the position with the Mariners in 2018 when he started 10 games at first base.
“I know he can play over there,” Showalter said. “I don’t want it to be cold in New York if we get into a tight spot.”
https://nypost.com/2022/04/01/taijuan-walker-has-strong-outing-in-mets-exhibition-loss/ Taijuan Walker makes a strong showing in Met’s exhibition loss