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Walker dazzles in first live batting practice


PEORIA, Ariz. -- Taijuan Walker threw his first live batting practice session of the spring on Tuesday and it didn't take long to remind folks why he's one of the top pitching prospects in baseball.

The 20-year-old right-hander has that certain sizzle to his pitches, the ball jumping out of his hand with the easy throwing motion that has scouts drooling. Walker hasn't pitched above the Double-A level yet, and thus is a longshot to break camp with the Mariners next month, but it's only a matter of time before he appears in Seattle's rotation.

"Very easy, very fluid, very effortless," said third baseman Kyle Seager, one of five Mariners hitters to face Walker on Tuesday. "The ball gets on you. He's got really good stuff."

With hitters just getting their timing down in the second day of live BP, no one got good wood on Walker's pitches. It's too early for that to mean much, with most hitters rarely even swinging yet against live pitching. But it's easy to see that Walker has electric stuff.

"He's stronger. He looks good," said manager Eric Wedge. "It was his first time out with hitters and what not, so you kind of keep your distance here early on. But the games are coming quick. So it was good to see him. It looked like he was throwing the ball well today.

"Obviously he has all the stuff. It's just a matter of him gaining more experience, getting more innings under his belt and working ahead."

Walker, ranked fifth in MLB.com's prospect rankings for 2013, said it was fun to just get back out on the field after a long offseason.

"It was good to face hitters again," he said. "Weird, because it's been a while. But it was good to see hitters in the box again."

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