Phillies Spring Training Update: Walker injury, Turner feeling good, Suarez's debut

Spring training is in full swing, and with that comes plenty of updates. Let's take a look at the latest out of the Phillies' camp.
Philadelphia Phillies starter Taijuan Walker has knee soreness after bullpen session
Philadelphia Phillies starter Taijuan Walker has knee soreness after bullpen session / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

Spring training is now in full swing. The Phillies have had a week of real games, getting good looks at a mix of everyday players and the guys fighting for roster spots and playing time. It’s always fun to see how players have adjusted their approaches and added to their games — to and overreact (or underreact) to injuries and performances.

Let's dive in to the latest news out of the Phillies' 2024 camp.

Ranger Suárez dazzles in spring training debut

Ranger Suárez started off his 2024 spring training in impressive fashion. Starting against the Detroit Tigers on Friday, he delivered three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and zero walks. He threw 38 pitches, 26 for strikes, showcasing his consistency and accuracy.

As he typically does, Suárez induced four ground-ball outs compared to three flyouts and two strikeouts. Suárez sat 90-92 mph with his sinker and sprinkled in a cutter at 86 mph and a curveball that sat 74-76 mph.

The Phillies hope that the 28-year-old is ready to take a major step for them, and this is surely a great start toward that.

Trea Turner feels good early in spring

Trea Turner’s struggles for most of his first season with the Phillies are well documented. But there is no denying that once Turner figured out his swing in the latter parts of the season, he morphed into the player the Phillies were expecting when they signed him last offseason.

With a year in the organization under his belt, Turner already feels more comfortable and positive just one week into the 2024 camp, per's Paul Casella. Turner put in a lot of work last year to find his swing again and is looking to carry over his late-season success by replicating the work he did and the “feel” he had with his swing.

“Those last 40, 50, 60 games, I kind of figured out what all those feels are again," Turner told Casella. "They’re not quite there in the game yet [this spring], because you don’t trust them yet being so early, but my work’s been really good, I feel really good in the cage and I’m seeing the ball really well, which I like.”

It’s shown so far in his four games this spring. Over 11 plate appearances, he has four hits with two doubles and one walk. His slash line in those four games is .400/.455/.600. Maybe the most important thing is that he has struck out just once, which was, unusually, a big problem for him in 2023.

After going 2-for-3 with an RBI in Thursday’s 5-0 win, Turner said, “I feel like the swing is kind of where it was at the end of last year. I feel like I learned a lot last year and I’ve kind of carried that over to my work now, and it just feels good.”

The Phillies and the fans are looking forward to having a comfortable Trea Turner for the entirety of 2024.

Concerning reports about Taijuan Walker's 'normal' knee soreness

Veteran right-hander Taijuan Walker has been notably absent from spring training so far this year. On Friday, Alex Coffey of The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Walker was away from the team for a few days for personal reasons. After he came back to the team, he threw a bullpen session and, per Rob Thomson, felt “normal spring training soreness” in his right knee.

Thomson also noted that they are going to “back him off a little bit and get him going in the next couple of days.”

Starting pitchers are players of habit and can be seen as somewhat delicate. However, whenever a pitcher starts reporting knee soreness and the manager notes that they want to bring him along slowly, the sirens start blaring. Sure, Walker may pick back up in a few days, and nothing will come of this soreness, but it never bodes well when the season is just around the corner and one of the pitchers the team plans on relying on has yet to start his camp because of a possible injury.

Walker didn't quite have the season he had hoped for in 2023, and the Phillies want him to come out of the gates firing on all cylinders. Hopefully, this is just a minor speed bump for Walker, and he'll be back on the mound next week.