If not a guarantee, forearm tightness is, at the very least, a usual precursor to season-ending Tommy John surgery.
So Taijuan Walker's initial diagnosis after leaving Saturday's start against the Dodgers is worrisome, to say the least.
Walker left after two innings, replaced by a pinch-hitter after being visited by the team's trainer but staying in the game during the second inning. Before exiting, Walker had allowed a run on four hits and a walk, suggesting he wasn't at the top of his powers even before leaving.
The blow would be a big one -- theoretically, since the club didn't have much of an update late Saturday -- but not as devastating as it might be for other clubs that don't have Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray, Zack Godley and Patrick Corbin occupying the first four spots in the rotation. Options to fill Walker's rotation spot, if needed, include Matt Koch, who has already been with the club this year, and Braden Shipley, who appeared in 10 games -- including three starts -- with the Diamondbacks last year.
For Walker, it would be a disappointing development after he enjoyed a career-best year in his first season in the desert in 2017. Walker posted a strong 3.49 ERA in 28 starts with the Diamondbacks last year, and had a 3.27 ERA in his first two starts of this season.
With tests likely already ordered, the team should have an update sometime Sunday. Stay tuned.
Schoop Gets Good, Bad News
The news for Jonathan Schoop on Saturday wasn't as bad as originally feared.
Despite being placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right oblique strain, an MRI later Saturday revealed the strain is a Grade 1 severity, offering hope he'll be back sooner than later.
“We’re thinking a little bit better scenario than what it could have been,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “We think we caught it kind of early.”
A low severity and "better scenario" will still likely be measured in weeks, not days, for the second baseman, who was hitting .230/.266/.344 in 14 games this year. After hitting 32 homers last year, the 26-year-old has just one homer to date.
Tim Beckham played second base in Schoop's absence Saturday, and it's likely he'll continue to man the keystone until Schoop returns. At third base -- where Beckham had been playing before the injury -- Danny Valencia filled in. Manny Machado stayed at shortstop, where he's played all year.
National League Quick Hits: Christian Yelich (oblique) will not be activated from the 10-day disabled list Sunday, Brewers manager Craig Counsell said Saturday. Yelich took 70 swings in the batting cage Saturday afternoon, and Counsell said it was his best day yet. That said, the team wants Yelich closer to 100 percent before they activate him. Even though that won't be Sunday, it sounds as though it's on the horizon ... Ryan Braun left Saturday's game against the Mets due to back tightness. The back is among the parts of the body that have caused Braun issues in the past, so this isn't anything to immediately disregard as minor. That said, the injury wasn't something obvious -- he'd had a hit and a stolen base in the half-inning before exiting -- so there's reason to think it won't be too serious. We'll see what Braun and the team have to say in the next few days ... Charlie Blackmon returned from a four-game absence to swat a two-run home run in Saturday's loss to the Nationals. Blackmon has five homers and eight RBI this year, batting .279/.380/.674 ... Nolan Arenado began serving his suspension Saturday. Arenado has dropped his appeal and will serve the full five-game ban. Ryan McMahon will cover third base for the Rockies on Saturday and should see increased action there while Arenado is on the shelf ... Wil Myers (elbow) could rejoin the team as early as next weekend in Arizona, he said Saturday. Myers will do a few more days of throwing and taking batting practice before heading out for a one- to two-game rehab assignment with High-A Lake Elsinore. If that timetable holds up, the 27-year-old should be ready at some point in the next week, as hoped. Myers said his arm is up to "97 percent" after hitting the DL on April 4 with right arm nerve irritation ... Max Scherzer delivered another dominant performance in Saturday's victory over the Rockies, striking out 11 over seven innings of two-run ball. Scherzer allowed a one-out walk to Gerardo Parra in the first inning, then a two-run homer to Charlie Blackmon. That was it. He retired the last 20 batters that he faced in order. Now 3-1 on the season, he'll carry a minuscule 1.33 ERA and 0.67 WHIP into Friday's start against the Dodgers in Los Angeles ... Greg Garcia went 3-for-4 with two home runs, three RBI and three runs scored in Saturday's 6-1 win over the Reds. Both bombs came against left-hander Brandon Finnegan. Garcia also doubled in the ballgame. Speaking of doubling, his OPS before this game was .553 and improved to 1.146 after the game.
American League Quick Hits: Charlie Morton notched 12 strikeouts and allowed two runs in six innings but had to settle for a no-decision against the Rangers on Saturday. He yielded six base hits -- two of which left the yard as solo homers. Those were the first two earned runs Morton has allowed this year through three starts. He now has 25 strikeouts and six walks in 18 innings of work. His record holds at 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA and 1.06 WHIP ... Nomar Mazara was held out of the Rangers' starting lineup on Saturday due to stiffness in his neck. The issue isn't believed to be major and he's considered day-to-day ... Mookie Betts has been diagnosed with a bruised left foot and is considered day-to-day. Betts was removed from Saturday's game against the Orioles after colliding with O's catcher Chance Sisco, but X-rays came back negative. The dynamic outfielder should be back in the lineup for Sunday's series finale ... Mariners activated OF Nelson Cruz from the 10-day disabled list. Cruz has been out since April 1 with a sprained right ankle, which he sustained after slipping on the dugout steps in the second game of the season. He had a single and a run scored in five at-bats Saturday ... Hanley Ramirez homered and drove in three runs on Saturday, leading the Red Sox in a 10-3 rout of the Orioles. He has been on fire at the plate to start the 2018 season, slashing a robust .362/.415/.617 with three homers and 15 RBI.