Phillies pitcher Taijuan Walker made his first rehab assignment start and Orinon Kerkering took a step closer to a return to the big leagues on Thursday night.

The Phillies starter gave up two hits, and two runs and struck out four batters in four innings in his first minor league rehabilitation start for Class A Clearwater.

It was the first competitive outing since spring training for Walker, who has been sidelined because of right shoulder soreness. The 31-year-old averaged 91 mph on his fastball, throwing 47 pitches.



It’ll be interesting to see what the Phillies do when Walker is eligible to return to the big leagues with Spencer Turnbull pitching so well hin his spot in the rotation. Turnbull has pitched 11 shutout innings with a 13/1 K/BB ratio in his first two starts.

Also down in Clearwater, Orion Kerkering came in and struck out the side in the ninth in one inning of work, throwing 9 of 11 pitches for strikes and hitting 98 MPH on his fastball.

Kerkering could be up as soon as this weekend against the Pirates.

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