09/11/12 7:00 PM ET
d'Arnaud: 'Oh, yeah, I had a play'
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
Karstens, Walker optimistic after simulated game
CINCINNATI -- When Jeff Karstens said he was "pain-free" during a 60-pitch drill Tuesday afternoon, he meant it.Not that there was any reason to doubt the assurance of the right-hander, but he acknowledged having learned his lesson when he tried to push his way through the early signs of a hip strain on Aug. 31 in Milwaukee. By continuing to pitch at less than full strength, he aggravated the situation, both to himself and on the scoreboard -- the Brewers scored four runs off him in the first one-third inning of an eventual 9-3 win. "I definitely have to say something if I don't feel right. These are very important games for us," Karstens said following his 30-pitch simulated game, which followed 30 warmup pitches. "And [I] did some running. So far, so good. No side effects." But one surprise: When Neil Walker, one of the batters facing Karstens in the sim game, stood in on his more-sensitive left side, he did more than watch the pitches. "He took some swings left-handed. I thought he'd just be taking," Karstens said. "He looked good." Walker, recovering from lower back tightness, said he felt good, too. In fact, manager Clint Hurdle left open the possibility of Walker being used off the bench in Tuesday's game. That would also appear to be the second baseman's limit Wednesday, too. The club wants him to continue with his accelerating workouts and, following Thursday's off-day, return to the lineup Friday in the opener of a four-game series in Chicago.
Walker's birthday always somber reminder of 9/11
CINCINNATI -- Neil Walker will always have trouble joyously celebrating birthdays, ever since the unspeakable aftermath of his 16th.Pine-Richland High School's sophomore sports star turned 16 on Sept. 10, 2001, and went to school the next morning, when a couple periods into the day everything changed. "I have my birthday and wake up the next day to go to school, and I remember being in the third period when all this stuff happens," Walker said. "And it was pretty emotional. "I have a friend I grew up with whose birthday is Sept. 11, so we would always celebrate it together. That was not a very good day for him. No doubt, when I think of my birthday, I will always know the next day will be that memorable day."
Ryan Ludwick could do little to help the Pirates last year (hitting only two homers and driving in 11 runs in 38 games), but he's hurting them all over the place now. He beat them Monday with a 14th-inning single -- three innings after beaning bench coach Jeff Banister with a line-drive foul. Right-handers Chris Resop, Jared Hughes and Chris Leroux, who made a total of 87 pitches in Monday's extra-inning affair, were not available out of the Bucs' bullpen Tuesday. Starling Marte, 1-for-12 since coming off the DL (a double in the ninth of Monday's game), sat out Tuesday's start.
"There was a lot of pitching out of the stretch late, and a lot of good work done."
-- Hurdle, complimenting the work of his relievers -- who stranded 12 runners in the last eight innings of Monday night's marathon
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.