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Pirates' Walker scratched with tightness in lower back

| Monday, Aug. 27, 2012, 7:30 p.m.
Christopher Horner
Pirates second baseman Neil Walker missed the game against the Cardinals on Monday, Aug. 27, 2012, with tightness in his lower back. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Christopher Horner
The Pirates' Neil Walker watches his three-run home run leave the ballpark during the first inning against Arizona Wednesday August 8, 2012 at PNC Park. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review

Neil Walker was a late scratch from the lineup Monday because of tightness in his lower back. Josh Harrison, who was slated to start at shortstop, moved to second, and Clint Barmes took his usual spot at short.

Hurdle wanted to leave Barmes out against Cardinals starter Kyle Lohse because of his .111 batting average (1 for 9) against the right-hander.

“It's a matchup with the bat,” manager Clint Hurdle said before Walker's status changed. “Hopefully, finding different ways to add some offense against a pitcher who's been very tough this month, had a very good track record this month.”

• Jeff Karstens sounded optimistic that he'd be OK for his next start in Milwaukee Friday. Karstens came out of Saturday's game with a sore groin.

• Starling Marte (right oblique strain) is playing catch but not swinging the bat yet. He is eligible to come off the disabled list Sept. 3.

• Gaby Sanchez got some early work in at third base before batting practice. He's never played the position in the majors, but Hurdle said he had experience there in the past and they wanted to revisit it. “You get reports and you read them, but you don't want to box people in; you want to move them around, actually put your eyes on them and work with them a little bit and see if you can stretch them in some areas a little bit,” Hurdle said.

• OF Alex Dickerson was named High-A Florida State League player of the year. In 124 games with Bradenton, Dickerson hit .299 (eighth best in the league) with 12 homers, 88 RBI (second in the league) and 12 steals. He also ranks second in the league with 214 total bases.

— Karen Price

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