The Mariners announced offseason surgery updates on three pitchers -- Taijuan Walker, Steve Cishek and Tony Zych.
The Mariners announced updates on three pitchers that underwent offseason surgical procedures in the weeks following the end of the regular season. All were expected and planned surgeries based on lingering issues they dealt with during the season.
Right-handed pitcher Taijuan Walker underwent arthroscopic surgery on Monday in Seattle to have a bone fragment removed from his right ankle/foot. The procedure was performed by Dr. Nicholas Siebert, a local foot and ankle specialist. Walker dealt with foot discomfort throughout the season and was forced to the disabled list in June because of the problem. He met with a foot specialist in North Carolina during that time and was diagnosed with a condition where a bone in his foot was too long and causing the issue.
Walker will begin his rehab immediately and is expected to be ready for full activity at the start of spring training in February. Despite an up-and-down season where he finished 8-11 with a 4.22 ERA, he’s likely slotted into one of the five starting rotation spots for next season.
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Right-handed reliever Steve Cishek had surgery on October 12 to repair a torn labrum in his left hip. The procedure was performed by Dr. Thomas Byrd in Nashville. Cishek pitched through the issue this early in the season with uneven results, eventually losing his closing job. He did miss time on the disabled list and admitted it affected his ability to drive the baseball down in the strike zone in his delivery. A cortisone shot and rehab allowed him to come back and be effective as a setup man in the second half of the season. He finished with a 4-6 record, 25 saves and a 2.81 ERA in 62 appearances.
Cishek has the longest recovery. He’s expected to need four to six months of rehab before resuming full baseball activities, meaning he might not be ready to go when spring training begins.
Right-handed reliever Tony Zych underwent a right shoulder biceps tendon transfer surgery on October 11. Dr. Stephen O’Brien performed the procedure in New York. Zych missed much of the 2016 season with shoulder issues and tendinitis in his rotator cuff. He made just 12 appearances and pitched a total of 13 2/3 innings. Fortunately for him and the Mariners, this surgery did not involve the rotator cuff or capsule in the shoulder. He is expected to be ready for full activity at the start of spring training.