PITTSBURGH -- When Neil Walker awoke Monday morning, "I certainly didn't expect to finish the day on a hospital bed."
When incessant abdominal cramps sent Walker to the doctor's office around two in the afternoon, he didn't expect to be kept away from the Pirates' game that night against the Cubs.
"At about six o'clock," Walker said, "I was asking them to hurry up, because I needed to get back and play. Then they said, 'You're not going anywhere, you gotta go upstairs [to the hospital] and get worked on.'"
And that's how Walker found out he would be getting an appendectomy, which promptly landed him on the 15-day disabled list. The second baseman was back in the team clubhouse on Thursday, a little paler but otherwise appearing well and in good spirits.
"The chemicals and drugs are out of my system, so I feel pretty good," he said. "I couldn't be away from the clubhouse much longer."
Walker expressed hope that he wouldn't be out of the lineup for much longer than the required 15 days.
"As long as the wounds are healing normally and I feel OK, I can pretty much do whatever I can handle," Walker said. "Most important thing for me is to keep my legs strong, don't get too far away from being in shape. I have 15 days to see how I progress, but I don't think it's going to take much more time."
Walker was set to depart with the team following Thursday night's game for a weekend series in Miami with the Marlins.
"I'll be there to lead cheers," Walker said, "but hopefully it won't be long before I can resume working out."
Walker planned to reach out to the Cardinals' Matt Holliday, who was back in the St. Louis lineup nine days after an appendectomy on April 1, 2011, to hear what limitations he can expect in his early rehab.
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. Teddy Cahill is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @tedcahill. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.