Pirates' Walker won't return Friday after all

Neil Walker

Neil Walker will have to wait even longer to get back into the Pirates' lineup, and that only causes frustration for the second baseman.

"You're here all year playing every day to get to this point where you're in a pennant race, and you want to be out there helping your team," said Walker, who missed his ninth straight game with back tightness Wednesday night as the Pirates beat the Houston Astros 6-3 and drew within 1 1/2 games of St. Louis for the second National League wild card.

"It kills me not to be out there. At the same time, I have to be smart and listen to my body. The last thing I can do at this point of the season is go out there when I'm not healthy and do something to hurt the team and maybe cost us a game."

Walker was expected to be back in action Friday night for the opener of a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs. Though he will receive treatment during Thursday's off day, the Pirates still aren't ready to play him because he has yet to be able to take live batting practice.

"We've kind of tabled plans for now and we'll see how Neil feels Friday," manager Clint Hurdle said.

Walker is hopeful he can return sometime during the weekend series.

"I don't think it's going to be too much longer, but it's just not going to be Friday," he said.

Notes, Quotes

LF Jose Tabata was a late scratch from the lineup because of a bruised left foot. He suffered the injury Tuesday night when he fouled a ball off it. OF Alex Presley took Tabata's place and went 2-for-4 with a triple and three runs scored.

RF Travis Snider was out of the lineup Wednesday night, one night after leaving a 6-2 win against Houston in the first inning with a strained right hamstring. Snider is hopeful of returning Friday night for the opener of a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs and will receive treatment on his leg Thursday, an off day for the team.

LF Starling Marte's rehabilitation assignment was transferred to Class AAA Indianapolis on Wednesday, and he went 1-for-3 with a run scored and a strikeout as the center fielder in an 8-1 loss to Charlotte in the opening game of the International League playoffs. Marte, on the disabled list with a strained right oblique muscle since Aug. 19, started his rehab Tuesday night with short-season Class A State College. He likely won't be activated until next week.

CF Andrew McCutchen's four-hit game on Tuesday night was his sixth of the season, which leads the National League. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, over the last 50 years just four Pirates have had that many games in a season with four hits—Richie Hebner with seven in 1974, Dave Parker with six in 1976, Joe Orsulak with six in 1985 and Jeff King with six in 1996.

2B Brock Holt went 4-for-5 on Tuesday night in his fourth career game. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Holt is only the second Pirates player since 1900 to have a four-hit game within his first four career games. The other was INF Jack Merson, who went 4-for-5 on Sept. 15, 1951 against the Brooklyn Dodgers.

By The Numbers: .347. Holt's combined batting this season between the Pirates, Indianapolis and Class AA Altoona.

Quote To Note: "It's only a number but it does feel good because winning games is a starting pitcher's job," —Pirates RHP Kevin Correia after being the winning Wednesday night to improve his record to 10-8 and secure his fourth consecutive season of double-digit wins.

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