PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – If you were asked before the season who would be leading the Pirates in home runs through 48 games, you likely would have selected Pedro Alvarez.
And, why not? Alvarez has clubbed 66 over the previous two seasons.
Despite producing nine homers so far in 2014, five more than the next Pirates’ hitter, Alvarez is not the correct answer. In fact, it is local native Neil Walker who has supplied the most long-ball punch. The switch-hitting second baseman has hit 10 home runs and leads the club in total bases (84).
“I don’t think there’s anything different about my approach,” Walker recently told The Fan’s Starkey and Mueller. “I think towards the end of last year, I made a small adjustment left-handed that’s helped me a little bit with some leverage and getting my swing off. And, I think that’s the most important thing for me.
“I’m at a pretty good place right now; I’ve swung the bat pretty well here early on. I’ve been able to put the ball in the seats a couple times, which I’m obviously happy about. But, there’s still a lot of season to go [and] a lot of work to be done.”
With 26 RBI, Walker trails Alvarez for the team lead in that department by one.
Rob Biertempfel examines Walker’s early season success and future in Pittsburgh in today’s Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
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