PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 15: Neil Walker #18 of the Pittsburgh Pirates grimaces in pain after injuring his hand attempting to turn a double play in the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the game on August 15, 2012 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Neil Walker exited last night’s contest against the Los Angeles Dodgers with a dislocated right pinky finger. While he’s likely to miss some time due to the injury, the 26-year-old is optimistic that he’ll be able to make a quick recovery, reports Karen Price of TribLive.com:
"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."
Walker’s been one of the Pirates most effective offensive options this season, behind only All-Star center fielder Andrew McCutchen. He’s hit .290/.353/.452 with twenty-six doubles and fourteen home runs over 420 at-bats this season.
While the Pirates got off to a strong start this season and were in the thick of the National League Central hunt through the All-Star break, they’ve now lost seven of their last nine games, dropping them to an overall record of 64-53 and seven games behind the division-leading Cincinnati Reds.
Can the Pirates remain in the race if Walker hits the DL?