MLB

Mets right-hander Taijuan Walker exits start vs. Braves with back spasms

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The injuries are beginning to mount for the first place New York Mets. One night after Carlos Carrasco exited his start with an oblique injury that will sideline him 3-4 weeks, Taijuan Walker left his start against the Atlanta Braves after only two innings and 32 pitches with back spasms, the Mets announced.

Walker walked two and allowed a single in his two innings and threw only 17 of his 32 pitches for strikes. It’s worth noting his velocity was down across the board. The fastball averaged 92.5 mph Tuesday, roughly 2 mph below his season average. Walker missed close to three weeks with right shoulder bursitis earlier this season.

The Mets have not yet announced their plans to replace Carrasco in the rotation, though lefty David Peterson is the obvious candidate to step in. He made 14 starts and four relief appearances earlier this season and is currently in Triple-A. Should Walker miss time, New York could slide long reliever Trevor Williams into the rotation.

Walker, 29, has pitched to a 3.36 ERA in 21 starts and 112 1/3 innings this season. As long as he’s healthy, he’s a good bet to decline his $6 million player option after the season, and secure a multi-year contract as a free agent. Because the option comes with a $3 million buyout, it’s only a $3 million decision for Walker.

The Mets entered Tuesday with a 71-46 record and a 4 1/2-game lead in the NL East. They are looking for their first division title since 2015.



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