TribLIVE

| Sports


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Pirates notebook: Back sidelines Walker for rest of season

Pirates/MLB Videos

PIRATES GAMEDAY

vs REDS

7:05 p.m. Saturday, PNC Park

TV/radio: Root Sports/KDKA-FM (93.7), WCNS-AM (1480), WJPA-AM (1450), XM 183

Probable pitchers: Reds RHP Mike Leake (8-9, 4.73) vs. Pirates RHP Kyle McPherson (0-2, 3.54)

1:35 p.m. Sunday: Reds RHP Johnny Cueto (19-9, 2.83) vs. Pirates LHP Wandy Rodriguez (12-13, 3.79)

7:05 p.m. Monday: Braves LHP Paul Maholm (4-4, 3.65) vs. Pirates LHP Jeff Locke (0-3, 6.35)

Friday, Sept. 28, 2012, 4:18 p.m.
 

Hobbled by a herniated disc in his lower back, second baseman Neil Walker will be shut down for the rest of the season.

Walker has not started since Monday, when he went 2 for 3 with a walk against the New York Mets. He missed 16 straight games from Aug. 27 to Sept. 14 due to the injury, and the Pirates went 4-12 in that stretch.

“I don't want to portray this as me quitting on the team,” Walker said. “It's frustrating (because) my goal was to get back and help this team as much as I could. I tried to play through it as much as I could. I'm sure I was raising eyebrows when I'd play one day and then not play again for a few days. It's getting better, but rest is important.”

A few days ago, during the series in New York, manager Clint Hurdle gave Walker the option of sitting out the rest of the year.

“I lost a lot of sleep over it,” Walker said. “Swinging (a bat) is not the issue. The issue is all the other things: running the bases, fielding ground balls, being on my feet for three hours.”

Walker said he will meet with several back specialists next week. Surgery is not considered to be necessary.

The Pirates tried to sign Walker to a multiyear contract a year ago. Those contract talks have since stopped, and Walker will be arbitration-eligible for the first time this offseason.

“I'm open to talks this offseason or in spring training,” Walker said. “If they want to try to use (the injury for leverage), they can. Regardless, my focus is on the arbitration process.”

Walker will end the year with a .280 batting average. He ranks fourth among National League second basemen with 69 RBI and fifth with 14 home runs.

• Hurdle decided to keep right-hander Jeff Karstens in the bullpen for the rest of the season. Karstens has not started since Aug. 31, when he lasted 13 inning against the Milwaukee Brewers before leaving with a hip pointer injury. He made 15 starts this season and went 5-4 with a 3.89 ERA. Karstens, who is making $3.1 million, has one year of arbitration eligibility remaining.

— Rob Biertempfel

 

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Pirates

  1. Pirates likely to seek pitcher, catcher when free agency starts
  2. Pirates must weigh risk, reward in attempt to sign Martin
  3. Pirates acquire infielder from Indians, designate Axford, Gomez for assignment
  4. Pirates to end spring in Philadelphia again, sign Stinson to minor league deal
  5. Pirates weighing options with Martin
  6. Offensive production, filling out rotation key for Pirates next season
  7. Pirates are solid at shortstop with the durable Mercer in play
  8. Pirates face mound of decisions in offseason
  9. Pirates’ Banister named finalist for Rangers’ managing job
  10. Pirates will implement price increase for 2015 tickets
  11. Pirates bench coach Jeff Banister named Rangers manager
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.