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Neil Walker might be shut down early

Sep 26, 2012, 10:23 PM EDT

neil walker getty Getty Images

Neil Walker has been in and out of the Pirates’ starting lineup for the past four weeks because of lingering lower back tightness and muscle spasms.

And his return to full-time duty is not imminent.

According to Tom Singer of MLB.com, the second baseman could be shut down for the final week of the regular season to avoid making the issue any worse. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle told reporters Wednesday that Walker’s energy is “not at major league levels” and that he’s relying on adrenaline to push through the discomfort in his back:

“When he feels good, adrenaline can flare up and he can play,” said Hurdle. “And there’s days he can’t. You don’t want to not let a man play who wants to play and is capable of playing. The energy he has at the start has been tough to maintain. I just know that when he does play, the next day he’s not at the same comfort level as he’d been the morning before.

Yeah, we’re talking about it.”

Walker is batting .280/.342/.426 with 14 homers, 27 doubles and 69 RBI in 129 games played this year.

The Bucs were officially eliminated from playoff contention after Wednesday night’s 6-0 loss to the Mets.

  1. Brian Donohue - Sep 27, 2012 at 12:00 AM

    Yep, time to give him the rest of the season off, there’s no glory to be had in .500 (though their chances are actually decent there, Cincy and Atl will be resting starters, albeit for better reasons). He definitely shouldn’t play tomorrow; if I had a sore back last guy I’d want to face is Dickey.

  2. sanguillen35 - Sep 27, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    Why not? His teammates shut down a month ago.

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