Pirates notebook: Walker still sore from appendectomy

Rob Biertempfel
| Thursday, June 12, 2014, 8:00 p.m.

Second baseman Neil Walker hopes to rejoin the Pirates' lineup June 24, which is the first day he's eligible to come off the disabled list.

“I don't think it's going to take much more time than that, but there's no telling,” Walker said Thursday. “I'm just sore today. Sore, and without an organ.”

Walker had an appendectomy Monday night and was released from Allegheny General Hospital the next day. He stopped by PNC Park briefly Wednesday to congratulate Gregory Polanco on making his big league debut.

“I'm happy for him,” Walker said. “It's exciting to see him up here.”

Walker will accompany the team to Miami this weekend for the series against the Marlins. He's able to walk up steps normally again and likely soon will hop on an exercise bike.

“I'll be a cheerleader on this trip,” Walker said. “But hopefully by the end of the weekend I'll be doing a lot more activity. Hopefully I'm back to normal in 48 hours.”

Walker said he experienced what felt like a cramp around 2 p.m. Monday. Around 6 p.m., as he was being examined at the hospital, Walker told the doctor to hurry because he wanted to get back to PNC Park and play that night.

“They said, ‘You're not going anywhere. You (are) going to go upstairs (to surgery) and get worked on,' ” Walker said. “Everything happened so quickly. When I woke up that day, I certainly didn't expect to end it in a hospital bed.”

Walker's appendix did not burst, which should mean a shorter recovery time.

Roster in flux

Josh Harrison did not need to go on the disabled list after rolling his ankle Wednesday. Before Thursday's series finale against the Chicago Cubs, manager Clint Hurdle said Harrison probably would be available off the bench.

To provide some infield depth, utilityman Michael Martinez was called up from Triple-A Indianapolis. Casey Sadler, who has made just four relief outings, was sent back to Indy.

Martinez, 31, was signed as a minor league free agent in January and was a non-roster invitee to spring training. He batted .382 in 18 Grapefruit League games, then hit .229 with a .596 OPS in 61 games with Indianapolis. Martinez played in 162 games with the Phillies (2011-13). He can play shortstop, second base, third base and the corner outfield spots.

Worley option for Sunday

On Sunday, Martinez likely will go back to Indy when the Pirates bring up a pitcher — righty Vance Worley is a possibility — to start against the Miami Marlins.

Hurdle said there is “no need yet” to announce who will replace Francisco Liriano (strained oblique) in the starting rotation. Worley is 3-2 with a 4.30 ERA in seven starts with Indy.

As of Thursday night, Worley still was listed as Indy's starter Friday against Durham. His spot could be filled by right-hander Nick Kingham, who Thursday was promoted to Indianapolis from Double-A Altoona.

Cole throws in pen

Right-hander Gerrit Cole threw a bullpen session Thursday, his first since going on the DL with shoulder fatigue.

Cole said he threw about 20 pitches, all fastballs, and said things went “fine.” He is eligible to come off the DL Thursday.

Around the horn

Gregory Polanco is the top overall vote-getter in the International League after the latest round of balloting for the Triple-A all-star game. However, unless he goes back to the minors before July 14, Polanco will have to sit out the Triple-A all-star game — a sacrifice he gladly will make. ... Andrew McCutchen homered, singled and walked twice Wednesday against the Cubs. It's the seventh time McCutchen homered and reached base in all of his plate appearances with at least four trips to the plate in a game.

Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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