ST. LOUIS -- The Pirates know they will be without the services of Neil Walker for at least the rest of this road stretch, which has four games remaining following Saturday afternoon's game against the Cardinals.
What they need to determine is whether Walker's absence with a six-stitch gash in the knuckle of his right index finger figures to be long enough to warrant his placement on the 15-day disabled list.
Soon after his injury Friday night -- sustained while trying to break up a double play and being stepped on by St. Louis shortstop Pete Kozma -- Walker said doctors expected the stitches to be removed in six to seven days.
That prognosis coincides with one of the "two different time frames I've heard, one from our team and one from somebody else," manager Clint Hurdle said.
"We'll take it day to day and initially try to play without DL-ing him," Hurdle added, "and if it becomes problematic for the roster, we may have to go in a different direction."
It may have become more problematic a couple of hours later, exclusive of Walker's condition: Right-fielder Travis Snider was scratched from Saturday's lineup with left-side discomfort. If that were to become a lingering issue -- Snider was being treated prior to re-evaluation -- it would further dilute the bench and necessitate roster moves.
Brandon Inge will primarily take Walker's spot at second base and be occasionally spelled by the other veteran infielder, John McDonald.
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.