Pirates notebook: Walker blames hotel beds for bad back

| Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014, 3:06 p.m.

Neil Walker returned to the Pirates lineup Tuesday and blamed hotel beds for a bad back that bothered him last weekend.

“I just needed a little rest,” he said. “I had some tightness that just needed to calm down. Fortunately, the off day came at a good time. I probably could have played on Sunday, but we didn't want to push it with having (Monday) off.”

The second baseman said the pain was nothing like the lower-back problems that kept him out of 27 of the final 35 games in 2012. His hips were out of alignment, he said, and after he was evened up, it helped relieve the pressure he was feeling in his back.

“We were on the road for 10 days, and sleeping in hotel beds is never a lot of fun,” he said. “Fortunately, I'm back to where I was a few days ago.”

Walker left Tuesday's game in the eighth inning with back tightness.

“He came to us and said his back tightened up,” manager Clint Hurdle said.

Marte returns from 7-day DL; Alvarez goes on bereavement

The Pirates reinstated Starling Marte from the seven-day concussion disabled list after a three-game rehab assignment. To make room on the active roster, third baseman Pedro Alvarez was placed on the bereavement list.

Marte played center field in place of the injured Andrew McCutchen for the opener against the Miami Marlins. Jayson Nix started at third base.

“He played the outfield and had one hit in 12 at-bats,” Hurdle said of Marte's rehab with Triple-A Indianapolis. “No repercussions of any of the effects he was feeling. He seems to be in a good place physically. He got to see some pitches and go out and play defense.”

Same view, different feel

Garrett Jones made the drive from the Pittsburgh airport to Downtown countless times as a Pirate, but doing it as a member of the Marlins was a bit different, he said.

“It brought back a lot of memories,” said Jones, who signed with the Marlins in the offseason. “It's cool to remember what we did last year and have those memories come back. The stadium rocking and to be a part of that, it was something special that I'll never forget.”

Jones is batting .253 with 12 home runs and 43 RBIs this year and had a season-long eight-game hitting streak snapped Friday. He said he was looking forward to stepping onto the field at PNC Park.

“It'll be good to get out there with that crowd I used to see all the time,” said Jones, who received a warm reception before his first at-bat, a single to left field. “Pittsburgh's always been a great atmosphere to play baseball.”

Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at kprice@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KarenPrice_Trib.

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