PITTSBURGH -- Pirates second baseman Neil Walker was knocked out of Wednesday night's game against the Dodgers in the first inning due to a dislocated finger in his right hand. X-rays came back negative for a break, and Walker is hopeful of avoiding any time on the disabled list. "I'm very optimistic about a quick return," Walker said following the Pirates' 9-3 loss to Los Angeles. Walker had a splint on his right little finger. He is scheduled to see a hand specialist on Thursday, but based on a similar past experience, anticipated a short absence.
Walker suffered a dislocation to a left finger in 2009, an injury that also included a tear in a ligament. "And even then I wasn't out very long. Had it been just the dislocation, it would've been even briefer," Walker said. "Fortunately, there is no break, so I'm very optimistic." Walker had fielded a grounder up the middle by Matt Kemp, raced to second base to force Mark Ellis out and in the same motion unfurled a throw to first to attempt a double play. Kemp was safe at first. As he tumbled over Ellis after releasing the ball, Walker extended his right hand in an attempt to break his fall and the hand bore the full weight of his body. "I had a weird angle going across [the bag], and the guy kinda clipped my shin and I started rolling forward," Walker said. "Then, it was either a face-plant or try to stick out my hand. As soon as I hit the ground, I knew it was dislocated." Walker writhed on the ground in agony until team trainers, accompanied by Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, arrived on the scene. After a few minutes, Walker walked off the field as his right arm was held by the trainer. "They had to pop [the finger] back in," Walker said. "It was kinda bent backwards, like a 'Z'." That is one Zoltan gesture sure to not become popular among Pirates players. Josh Harrison, who had started the game at third base, was shifted over to second, with Pedro Alvarez coming off the bench to take over third. Alvarez, who'd been left out of the lineup with lefty Clayton Kershaw pitching for the Dodgers, went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.