Aug 30, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Taijuan Walker (27) pitches during the third inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

MLB Rumors: Taijuan Walker to begin season in Seattle Mariners rotation

The Seattle Mariners should find themselves in a fight for a playoff birth this season – especially if young pitching phenom Taijuan Walker produces as expected.

The 21-year-old right-hander had a cup of coffee with the Mariners at the end of the 2013 and while there were a few minor bumps in the road, Walker looked fantastic.

So fantastic, in fact, the Mariners plan to keep Walker (who is dating Lingerie Football Star Angela Rypien) in their starting rotation coming out of Spring Training.

McClendon declared Friday that the team’s top prospect is expected to be part of the Mariners’ Opening Day roster.

The 21-year-old right-hander made three late-season starts in the Major Leagues last summer, going 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA. Walker, who was named’s No. 6 prospect on Thursday, said those outing have given him something to build on.

The Mariners could opt to change their stance if Walker absolutely bombs during Spring or struggles during the first few weeks of the season, but that seems unlikely. What the Mariners will likely do though is limit Walker’s starts – especially early in the season before they eventually cap his innings limit in the 180-190 range.

Tags: Seattle Mariners Taijuan Walker

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