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Taijuan Walker to start for D-backs on Sunday in season finale

Taijuan Walker #99 of the Arizona Diamondbacks delivers a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning at Busch Stadium on April 8, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

It will only be for one inning, but Taijuan Walker will feel good about pitching for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2019.

For the first time since April of 2018, Walker will start for the D-backs on Sunday in the team’s season finale. Left-hander Alex Young will follow Walker, who had Tommy John surgery over 17 months ago.

The 26-year-old Walker appeared in three games last year before injuring his throwing elbow. He allowed five earned runs in 13.0 innings before the injury ended his season in a start on April 14 of that year against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In 2017, Walker’s first year with the Diamondbacks after being acquired in a trade from the Seattle Mariners, the pitcher made 28 starts, finishing the season with a 3.49 ERA and 1.33 WHIP.

Walker was a part of the deal where the D-backs also acquired Ketel Marte in exchange for Jean Segura, Mitch Haniger and Zac Curtis.

Segura was an All-Star in 2017 before being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies last offseason while Mitch Haniger was an All-Star in 2018 and had an injury-riddled year this season. Curtis is currently a free agent.

Marte, meanwhile, has developed into a star for the D-backs this season, hitting .329 with an OPS of .981 and leading the National League in hits with 187 before being ruled out for the rest of the year on Sept. 20 due to a back injury.

The rotation has gone through plenty of changes since the last time Walker pitched a full season for the 93-win D-backs in 2017.

Patrick Corbin signed with the Washington Nationals last offseason, Zack Greinke was dealt at the trade deadline, Shelby Miller was not re-signed and his replacement that season, Zack Godley, was designated for assignment in August. Walker and Robbie Ray are the two lone returning starters from that playoff team.

Arizona has one more year of team control left on Walker’s contract for next season and then the right-hander is set to become a free agent in 2021.


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