Pirates notebook: Walker expected to return to lineup Tuesday
WASHINGTON — Second baseman Neil Walker has made a rapid recovery from a sore right oblique and likely will be in the starting lineup Tuesday against the Washington Nationals.
Walker rejoined the Pirates and was scheduled to be examined Monday after a three-game rehab assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis. He has been on the disabled list since July 7.
“I feel good,” Walker said. “I had no problems, no setbacks. I took a lot of normal swings. The more I swung, the better it felt. That was very encouraging.”
Walker caught the injury early, so it did not require a lengthy recovery time. He was eligible to come off the DL on Monday, but manager Clint Hurdle opted to give Walker a day off before putting him back in the lineup.
“Thirteen days down with a three day rehab — that will be shortest amount of time down I've ever seen for a player with an oblique,” Hurdle said. “I think we pushed him dramatically, playing him three straight days (at Indy). With the experience we have in dealing with obliques, four days in a row is too much.”
Jordy Mercer has started the past nine games at second base. When Walker returns, the Pirates could clear a roster spot by either releasing Brandon Inge or sending Josh Harrison back to Indy. Inge is batting .181 and is hitless in his past 13 at-bats.
No hard feelings
During the telecast of the game Sunday against the Cincinnati Reds, broadcaster Thom Brennaman was heard whispering, “This guy sucks,” after Pirates lefty Jeff Locke walked Zack Cozart in the fifth inning. Video of the incident was on the Internet soon after the end of the game, and it created a firestorm among Pirates fans on Twitter.
Sunday night, Brennaman called Pirates media relations assistant Dan Hart and said his comment was not directed at Locke. Brennaman did not speak with Locke.
“I appreciate him reaching out to us, regardless of what was true or not true,” Locke said. “I thought it was a real gentlemanly move by him. He told Dan he actually thinks the world of me and thinks I have a bright future ahead of me.”
Locke said there are no hard feelings on his part.
“Even if (Brennaman) did (say it), he wouldn't be the first person and I promise you he won't be the last,” Locke said with a laugh. “Everyone's entitled to their opinion.”
Streaking, good and bad
Pirates righty Gerrit Cole has a chance to make some ignominious history Tuesday when he pitches against the Nationals.
Cole has dropped his past three decisions after beginning his big league career with a 4-0 record. The last rookie starter to lose four in a row after going 4-0 was right-hander Tom Candiotti, who did it in 1983 with the Milwaukee Brewers.
“For young players, more often than not, they'll learn more through adversity than they do through success,” Hurdle said.
“Gerrit's last three starts have given him an opportunity to look at things through a different lens, and that's important.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.