Pirates notebook: Walker may be headed to DL with back pain
Neil Walker said after Sunday's game that he's still hoping to avoid a move to the disabled list despite indications from management that it may be inevitable.
Manager Clint Hurdle hoped to have his second baseman back for the finale against the San Diego Padres after a pinch-hit appearance Saturday, but that didn't happen.
“His back didn't respond as he or we hoped (Sunday),” general manager Neal Huntington said. “We'll see how he feels after getting some more treatment and going through some work and make a determination after the game and/or (Monday).”
Walker missed a pair of games in Arizona at the end of the Pirates' most recent road trip and blamed the problem on bad hotel beds. After a day off Monday, he played Tuesday but was out of the lineup again Wednesday. He pinch hit in the ninth inning Saturday and struck out.
Walker said he has seen a back specialist, who found nothing alarming.
“It's just a matter of letting this thing calm down a little bit,” said Walker, who described the problem as spasms. “That's where we are. I've attacked this several different ways in the past and been able to play through it. It's just listening to your body. I felt like I was able to play (Sunday), but when I got (to PNC Park), it didn't feel like I could play a full nine innings.”
If Walker goes on the DL, the Pirates won't be able to back date it because of the pinch-hitting appearance Saturday. Hurdle said he doesn't regret the decision.
“I don't have a crystal ball,” Hurdle said. “To second-guess or get disappointed because something you tried to do that you all felt comfortable (doing), no. Not at all. Move on. That's the way we're built.”
The Pirates are considering how to prevent Walker's back problems from getting worse, Huntington said.
“He woke up (Sunday) feeling not quite as good, and now we have to take a step and make sure that we don't allow this to regress and don't put ourselves in a position of him having to miss a lot more time,” Huntington said.
McCutchen making ‘remarkable' progress
Huntington said “remarkable” was the best word he could think of to describe Andrew McCutchen's progress coming back from a rib injury.
“He's been completely honest with us, and we've ramped up some things and slowed down some things based on how he's feeling,” Huntington said. “It's been a fascinating process. It's an injury atypical for baseball. It's a torque-based injury, and obviously, he creates a ton of torque when he swings the bat.
“There are still hurdles to clear. But we are optimistic, and I'm not sure anyone could work harder or be more positive about the process than Andrew has been so far.”
Pirates claim infielder Field
The Pirates claimed infielder Tommy Field off waivers from Anaheim and optioned him to Triple-A Indianapolis.
The Angels designated the 27-year-old for assignment Thursday after he was hitting .285 with seven home runs, 33 RBIs and 55 runs scored in 80 games with their Triple-A Salt Lake affiliate. The former Colorado draft pick had five stints in the majors last year.
Alvarez subs in at third
Pedro Alvarez has been taken out late in several games this season because of his defensive struggles at third base, but he entered at third in the eighth inning Sunday.
The Pirates are working on moving him to first base because it represents the best option for this season, Huntington said, but both sides are committed to Alvarez playing third in the future.
“In our minds, Pedro is still a third baseman,” Huntington said. “We're going to work as hard as we can to get Pedro through this throwing challenge.”
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.