PITTSBURGH -- Neil Walker missed 15 days after losing his appendix -- without losing his place in the offensive leader board among National League second basemen.
Walker still leads NL second sackers with 11 home runs entering Friday, and his 36 RBIs rank third behind Arizona's Aaron Hill (40) and the Phillies' Chase Utley (37), who leapfrogged him with a walk-off two-run homer on Thursday night.
With less than a week remaining before polls close on July 3, Walker is also second to Utley in All-Star votes by a large margin. And that's precisely where his manager would like to see Walker during the All-Star Game, as Utley's second.
"It looks like Utley's a lock, and deservedly so," Clint Hurdle said. "After that, you're gonna need another [second baseman], and Neil should most definitely be [considered]."
Fans can continue to cast their votes for starters at MLB.com -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15 on FOX.
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.