Pirates notebook: Walker nearly back to full strength
Neil Walker was planning to make Tuesday as normal as possible, taking batting practice and following the routine of a typical game day.
A week and a day after undergoing an appendectomy, Walker said he's almost back to full strength and doesn't have any pain after starting to swing the bat a little. No matter how great he feels the next week, however, the Pirates' second baseman won't be eligible to come off the disabled list until June 24.
“I'm gonna go crazy in the dugout,” Walker said Tuesday before the series opener against the Reds at PNC Park.
Manager Clint Hurdle said Walker would simulate being an extra man off the bench on Tuesday, meaning he'd go up to the cage, hit off the machine and start to see some velocity and spin. Hurdle said he can tell his second baseman is feeling much better.
“The more he does this,” Hurdle said, holding his hand up to show yapping, “the healthier he's getting. And we're getting a lot of yapping. He's come to see me twice today, which never happens when he's healthy. Never.”
In other injury news, Hurdle said Gerrit Cole (shoulder fatigue) has had no complications or setbacks from Sunday's side session and is close to throwing 60 pitches off a mound, and Francisco Liriano (oblique strain) could play catch on Thursday.
Hurdle: Gwynn a visionary
Hurdle said that in addition to having one of the purest swings ever, he could think of few others who could match how hard Tony Gwynn worked at his craft. Gwynn was a visionary, he said, in the construction of his pre-game routine and use of video analysis, often carrying his own VCR and cables to the ballpark in a knapsack. Hurdle also recalled what would become a running joke between the two of them after Gwynn's final trip to Colorado.
“I said, ‘I don't know how good you are, but you've been hot for, like, 18 years,' ” Hurdle said. “And he thought that was really funny. I didn't know how he would take it. I was ready to maybe cover up like I'd infuriate him, but he thought that was funny and we joked about it for years afterward.”
The Pirates held a moment of silence for both Gwynn and Chuck Noll prior to first pitch on Tuesday.
McCutchen 2nd in voting
Andrew McCutchen, who was in fourth place among outfielders in last week's National League All-Star voting, has jumped up to second in the most current rankings with 1,727,534 votes. McCutchen trails current outfield leader Yasiel Puig, of Los Angeles, with 1,942,701, and leads Miami's Giancarlo Stanton, who has 1,659,430 votes. The reigning NL MVP would become the first Pirates player to earn a fan selection since Jason Bay in 2006. Walker ranks second among second baseman with 997,347 votes, but is well behind the Phillies' Chase Utley, with 1,678,843.
Pirates sign 5 more picks
The Pirates signed another five picks from the 2014 draft class, including outfielder Connor Joe, their selection from the competitive balance “A” round. Joe was named the West Coast Conference player of the year after hitting .367 with 21 doubles, nine home runs and 51 RBIs in 53 games with San Diego. They also signed third-round pick Jordan Luplow, an outfielder from Fresno State; ninth-round pick Kevin Krause, a catcher from Stony Brook; 25th-round selection Erik Forgione, an infielder from Washington; and 30th-round pick David Andriese, an outfielder from UC-Riverside; to bring the total to 30 players signed, including 23 of their first 24 picks.
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.
- Pirates pitcher Morton turns in solid performance in win over Marlins
- Pirates notebook: Morton’s return to Pirates means Liz leaves
- Gameday: Pirates vs. Marlins, May 26, 2015
- Pirates notebook: Substance rule a sticky subject
- Pirates reassign Liz to make roster room for Morton
- Starter Liriano strikes out 12, leads Pirates to series sweep of Mets
- Former pitcher Allie happily adjusting to outfield
- THE BLAME GAME
- Biertempfel: Despite Marte’s inconsistency, Pirates’ Hurdle keeping faith
- Book details secret to Pirates’ turnaround
- Pirates chase Mets’ Harvey early in rout