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D-backs’ strategy with Taijuan Walker return based on lessons from past

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Taijuan Walker throws to the plate during the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Saturday, April 14, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Taijuan Walker has begun throwing a baseball following Tommy John surgery in mid-April.

As things continue to progress for Walker according to plan, don’t expect the D-backs to rush him back to the field.

“We have a strategy for everything that we do,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “Last year we had really good intentions to do the same thing with Shelby [Miller] and slow play him, but there came a need where we had to rush him.”

Miller appeared in five games for Arizona last season. He made four starts but only pitched 16 innings all year posting a 10.69 ERA and 2.00 WHIP. 

“We learned a good lesson because (Miller) ended up taking a couple of steps backwards where he felt a little bit of arm fatigue and we don’t want that with Taijuan,” Lovullo said.

Walker threw 20 pitches off a mound on March 20 and is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Tuesday.

“We want to make sure that if we have a strategy, we’re going to stay with it,” Lovullo said.

The D-backs pitching staff has been problematic this season as they rank No. 27 in the MLB in team ERA and they have given up the seventh-most walks this season.

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