Ex-Met Taijuan Walker expecting emotional Citi Field return
Former New York Mets pitcher Taijuan Walker is set to return to Citi Field for the first time since signing a four-year, $72 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies in December. Although he’s preparing for the game like any other, he admits that he is nervous and expects an emotional tug, given what he accomplished with the organization. Walker played for the Mets in 2021 and 2022, going 19-16 with a 3.98 ERA. When asked by the media about his interest in returning to the Mets, he said he was comfortable with the team, and his results reflected that. He also mentioned that the Phillies showed interest in him from the beginning, stating that it makes him as a player feel good.
Walker does not hold a grudge against the Mets, saying he still has friends in the organization. Playing against his former team will be a challenge, but he’s ready to face the tough competition. Phillies teammate Zack Wheeler faced something similar in 2020, but he treated it differently than he does now. Although he still wants to pitch well against the Mets, it doesn’t have that level of excitement and is just another start.
Since joining the Phillies, Walker has thrown his splitter more, something the staff wanted after identifying it as his top pitch. Walker thinks his splitter will be the focal point of his pitch selection when he faces the Mets on Thursday.
Q: Will this be Taijuan Walker’s first game back at Citi Field since leaving the Mets?
A: Yes, this will be his first time returning to Citi Field since signing a four-year, $72 million deal with the Phillies in December.
Q: Did Taijuan Walker have interest in returning to the Mets?
A: Yes, he expressed interest in returning to the Mets.
Q: Did the Phillies show interest in Taijuan Walker?
A: Yes, the Phillies showed interest in Walker from the beginning and pushed hard for him.
Q: Will the game against the Mets be emotional for Taijuan Walker?
A: Yes, there will likely be an underlying emotional tug when he takes the mound at Citi Field.
Q: How has Taijuan Walker’s pitching changed since joining the Phillies?
A: Walker has thrown his splitter more, which the Phillies identified as his top pitch.
Taijuan Walker, former Met, anticipated a sentimental return to Citi Field.
Former New York Mets pitcher Taijuan Walker is set to face his old team on Thursday, but the 30-year-old, who signed a four-year, $72 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies in December, is trying to approach the game like any other start. “We didn’t really have too much communication, and the Phillies showed interest from the beginning and they really wanted me,” said Walker, who has a 4-2 record and 5.57 ERA in 2023. “For a team to really want you and really push hard for you, it makes you as a player feel good.”
Despite the interest from the Mets, Walker holds no grudges. “Even getting the Mets deal was hard for me,” he said. “To lock down a four-year deal, all the work I’ve put in and stuff, it feels good.” In his time with the Mets, Walker went 19-16 with a 3.98 ERA and became an All-Star in 2021 as a replacement.