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Pirates notebook: Walker's return will depend on pain tolerance

| Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012, 2:04 p.m.
Christopher Horner
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review Pirates second baseman Neil Walker is helped from the field after dislocating his finger Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012, at PNC Park.

Pirates second baseman Neil Walker said hand specialist Dr. Tom Hughes of Allegheny General Hospital was pleased with how the swelling in his left pinky finger had decreased, and his return will depend on his pain tolerance.

The best news for the Pirates was that he will avoid a trip to the disabled list, as Walker suspected would be the case when he dislocated the finger Wednesday.

“There was nothing that said I'd be restricted,” Walker said. “The biggest hurdle is going to be swinging a bat — and more from swinging left-handed because it's the bottom hand. I've grabbed the bat a few times today but certainly haven't swung at 90-mile-per-hour pitches. So it's going to go on how it's feeling.”

• Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett had words for Dodgers shortstopHanley Ramirez on Thursday after Ramirez tossed his bat and was arguing a strikeout in the sixth inning. Ramirez homered in his previous at-bat and made a gesture like eyeglasses as he was running. “I thought he did something when he crossed second base,” Burnett said. “I mean, if you're going to hit a homer, act like you've hit one before.”

• Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez went 3 for 4 with a single, double and his first home run since July 22 on Thursday. “Pedro, I think, doesn't need to be relaxed and calm (at the plate),” said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, who worked with Alvarez on Wednesday. “I think he needs to be firm, needs to be ready. His first move sets up his whole swing. When he strikes that first move, everything falls into place.”

• The Pirates placed reliever Chad Qualls on the three-day bereavement list because of an illness in the family and recalled reliever Jared Hughes from Triple-A Indianapolis. They also recalled infielder/outfielder Yamaico Navarro and optioned Jeff Locke to Indianapolis, where he will return to the starting rotation.

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