August 15, 2012: Pittsburgh, PA, USA: Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Neil Walker (18) lays on the ground in pain after injuring his hand on a double play attempt against the Los Angeles Dodgers at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Pugliese-US PRESSWIRE

Pirates’ Neil Walker Avoids the DL


The Pittsburgh Pirates have been one of baseball’s feel good stories this season, just as they were last year. In 2011, however, the Pirates, who were in first place in July, tumbled down the stretch and finished below .500 yet again, extending their streak on losing seasons to 19 in a row.

This year’s club had a different look, a different feel about them. Unlike previous versions, this club has some stellar starting pitching, beginning with Yankee castoff A.J. Burnett, who has emerged as a candidate for the Cy Young Award. This season has also seen Andrew McCutchen emerge as the most dynamic Pirate since Barry Bonds. Beyond the superstars has been an ever-emerging core of young players like Pedro Alvarez and second baseman Neil Walker.

But the Buccos have been scuffling of late and yesterday, Walker suffered a thumb injury that looked to threaten the remainder of his season. Fortunately for the Pittsburgh faithful, Walker’s Thursday MRI revealed no structural damage and the Pirates opted not to place their hometown hero on the disabled list today.

“I’m going to see a hand specialist (Thursday),” Walker said. “Fortunately there’s no break. … I couldn’t put a number on it, but I’m very optimistic about a quick return.”

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John Parent is the Senior Director of Human Resources for the FanSided Network. He can be reached at [email protected] or via Twitter @JohnJParent.

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