Taijuan Walker, Steve Cishek and Tony Zych all have issues that could require more than rest and rehab.
With the 2016 season ended, there are some lingering health issues that need to be addressed in the offseason.
Three Mariners pitchers could be destined for offseason surgery depending on what they decide in conjunction with the Mariners’ medical staff.
Right-hander Taijuan Walker is contemplating surgery on his troublesome right foot that sent him to the disabled list midseason and impacted his performance. The problems stem from a bone in the bottom of his foot that is too long and causes irritation.
Walker is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday and meet with team orthopedist Dr. Edward Khalfayan on Tuesday. He’ll also consult with foot specialist Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, N.C., before he makes the decision.
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Walker is hesitant about the surgery for multiple reasons, including the lengthy recovery that would impact his offseason conditioning and his plans to work on his mechanics. Still, the only way the problem will be completely removed is with the procedure.
“If I can avoid it, I will,” Walker said. “But at the same time, I don’t want to have the same issue next year. It’s affected me a lot and it sucks, so I would rather just get it taken care of.”
The Mariners are onboard with Walker having the procedure.
“We talked about it as something that we would encourage, because it’s a fairly — I don’t want to say it’s a simple procedure, but it’s a procedure that hopefully will solve the problem before we move forward,” general manager Jerry Dipoto said. “I don’t think it was much of a problem for the last five or six recent outings anyway. At this point, it’s just maybe taking a step to get ahead of a future problem, and that’s up to Tai. He’s indicated that he’s probably going to do it.”
Walker will have to make a decision relatively soon.
“When I talked with Dr. Anderson, he said it’s a three to four-month recovery where you are ready to go to pitch,” Walker said. “So I will have to do it within the next two weeks.”
Walker hasn’t had as many issues with the foot since visiting Anderson in July and having a second cortisone injection.
“It was good to go out there and not think about it,” he said.
But he was still restricted from running and doing his typical conditioning.
“That’s a reason why I’m hesitant if I do the surgery,” he said. “There will be two months where I can’t run or do anything like that.”
Walker is planning on staying in Seattle in the offseason and working out with fellow starter James Paxton. He also plans to have periodic visits from pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre to continue to tweak his revamped mechanics.
Reliever Steve Cishek is also deciding on possible surgery for a labrum tear in his hip. Cishek was bothered by the issue for much of July. After a cortisone shot and some rest, the pain was reduced. But there is no way to fix a tear with rest or treatment. He was going to meet with the Mariners’ medical staff to discuss it.
“That’s what we are trying to figure out,” Cishek said. “I have to talk to them. We’ll see what happens. The last couple of weeks I’ve felt great. The hip wasn’t bothering me at all, which was really nice.”
Dipoto was encouraged by what he saw when Cishek was healthy. If surgery maintains that success, then he’s all for it.
Dipoto said reliever Tony Zych is also likely headed for shoulder surgery this offseason. He wouldn’t specify the details, calling it more of a “cleanup.” Zych dealt with inflammation in his rotator cuff, causing him to miss much of the 2016 season.
“That is something that’s ongoing, and the recovery period for that is only a couple months as well,” he said. “Fortunately, we’re not looking at anything with any of the guys dealing with medical (issues) that appears to be long term in nature.
“Hopefully, quick bounce backs and easier rehabs, but anytime we’re going through a medical procedure you always have your fingers crossed. I don’t want to give any detail till we talk to Tony. That’s not my place.”
• With a crowd of 24,586 on Sunday, the Mariners’ season attendance totaled 2,268,573. That’s an increase from last season’s total of 2,193,041 and the highest total since the 2008 season of 2,332,530.
• Mariners’ pitchers tallied 1,318 strikeouts in 2016 to set a club record. The previous high was 1,317, which was set in 2014.
• Seattle set a club record, playing in 60 one-run games — the most in MLB this season. They finished with a 30-30 record in those games.