Walker a Pittsburgh native is thrilled to be coming back to PNC Park.
"I've dreamed of being a Pirate all my life and, hopefully, when the
day comes that I play my first game there, it will be something like I
think this is going to be," Walker told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "It's really exciting."
The 20-year old Walker had the beginning of his season delayed a month
by offseason wrist surgery. He is off to a slow start with Class A
Lynchburg, and is batting .248 with one home run and 14 RBIs in 117
Last season he hit .298 with 12 home runs and 80 RBIs for Lynchburg and
low Class A Hickory.
"I'm in a little slump right now, but I'm catching really well and
working to get out of it at the plate," Walker said. "There haven't
been any problems with the wrist, but it's a matter of getting the
timing back, and the transition is tougher than we imagined. Obviously,
getting the news about the Futures is a nice pick-me-up."
Gorzelanny,24, is one of only three participants with major-league
experience, having made one start and two relief appearances for the
Pirates last September.
Gorzelanny, the Pirates' second-round pick in the 2003 draft, has
soilidified his status as the organization's top pitching prospect this
season. In 15 starts with Triple-A Indianapolis, he has a 5-5 record
and a 2.53 ERA that ranks eighth in the International League. He leads
the league with 89 strikeouts.
"He has made improvements in the areas we've asked of him, which was
command of his fastball and developing a second pitch such as a slider
or changeup," said Brian Graham, the Pirates' director of player
development. "He's also shown more maturity because of his Triple-A
"All he can expect to get now is icing on the cake. We're not in a rush to get him to the majors, but it's good to know he's progressed as he has."
Walker and Gorzelanny are on the 25-man U.S. team roster, which will
face the World team. The seven-inning game will begin at 4 p.m. and be
televised nationally on ESPN2.