Walker struggles in return but says 'foot's fine'

Mariners righty tagged for 6 runs in first start since July 5

Walker struggles in return but says 'foot's fine'

SEATTLE -- The pain in Taijuan Walker's right foot was finally gone, but Saturday's start wasn't what he had hoped for.

"The foot's fine," he said. "Everything was good, and just the fastball command wasn't there. I think that was the biggest thing."

Walker allowed six runs on seven hits over four innings in his first game back from the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis in his right foot. The Mariners were able to come back and beat the Angels, 8-6.

"I was kind of surprised," manager Scott Servais said of Walker's outing. "I was looking for more. I was expecting more."

Walker had been on the disabled list since July 6, working to calm down tendinitis that had been affecting his right foot for months. On June 14, Walker exited his start after 3 1/3 innings in a lot of pain. He started five days later and got through five innings, but the pain hadn't improved. Walker skipped a start and pitched twice more before landing on the DL.

In his first time on a Major League mound in a month, Safeco Field was sold out Saturday for Ken Griffey Jr.'s number retirement ceremony.

"I was kind of amped up in the first inning," Walker said. "I just really tried to muscle everything out there, and nothing was really smooth and fluid."

Three batters into the game, Walker had allowed three runs and had not yet gotten an out. He started the inning with a walk to Yunel Escobar and a double to Kole Calhoun. Then he had to face Mike Trout with two runners in scoring position.

Walker worked ahead immediately, but on a 1-2 count, Trout sent a hung splitter out of the park.

"Watching last night, he hit the same pitch off Felix in the first inning," Walker said. "I was trying to get it down, and it just stayed up."

Walker came back the next inning and retired the side in order, but he gave up two more runs in the third and one in the fourth.

But after his team pulled out a win, Walker took solace in the fact he he wasn't hurting.

"I know what I really need to work on," he said. "So I think next time out I'll definitely be better."

Maddie Lee is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.