PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) – Sadly, when last the Pirates saw second baseman Neil Walker flash the “Zoltan” sign he made popular, it was for a different reason.
“I was kind of coming at the bag at a weird ankle and he kind of clipped my leg,” said Walker in regard to a first-inning collision with Dodgers counterpart Mark Ellis that forced him out of Wednesday’s 9-3 loss at PNC Park. “I ended up rolling forward and as soon as I hit the ground I knew what happened. It was bent like a ‘Z’ and [the trainers] had to pop up it back in.”
Following the Pirates’ fourth straight defeat, which put them on the brink of being swept by Los Angeles Thursday afternoon, x-rays on what was deemed a dislocated right pinky finger were found negative. However, Walker will see a hand specialist at some point today for a second opinion.
Walker, seen wearing a splint on his right pinky, also dislocated a finger on his left hand in 2009, an injury that included a torn ligament that prolonged his recovery time. Therefore, based on the fact no break or tear has yet been found, he anticipates a speedy return to the lineup.
Third baseman Pedro Alvarez entered Wednesday’s game to take Walker’s place in the field, along with the latter’s No. 2 spot in the batting order, while Josh Harrison moved from third base to second.
Walker is hitting .348 with 10 home runs and 37 RBIs over his past 43 games, and, depending on the gravity of this injury, stands a chance to break Bill Mazeroski’s single-season team record of most home runs by a second baseman (19 in 1958). His 14 dingers, entering Wednesday, were tied for the most by a second baseman in the National League.
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