TODAY: As expected, this move was made official. Walker is headed to the IL and Riddle will take his roster spot.
YESTERDAY: Marlins infielder Neil Walker is likely headed to the 10-day injured list after suffering a right quad strain during today’s 3-1 loss to the Giants. As noted by FNTSY Radio’s Craig Mish (Twitter link), the Marlins seem to be preparing for a roster move by removing JT Riddle from tonight’s Triple-A lineup.
Walker suffered the injury while running out a grounder, and is still officially designated as day-to-day. As manager Don Mattingly told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Wells Dusenbury and other reporters, however, “The way he [Walker] pulls up tells you it’s going to be a little bit” of time before Walker is back on the field.
Assuming an IL stint is indeed necessary, the injury interrupts what had been a nice bounce-back performance for Walker in the wake of a rough 2018 campaign. Walker simply never got on track last season, hitting just .219/.309/.354 (all full-season career lows) over 398 plate appearances for the Yankees. The 33-year-old inked a modest one-year, $2MM contract with Miami over the winter and was more than paying off that investment with a .295/.375/.443 slash line and four homers through 168 PA.
Some regression is inevitable given Walker’s .364 BABIP, though overall, the veteran is lining himself up as a candidate to be moved at the trade deadline, provided that his quad injury isn’t a long-term issue. Walker has played almost exclusively as a first baseman this season, though he offered much more versatility in 2018, making at least a dozen starts at first base, second base, third base, and in right field.