09/27/12 1:15 PM ET
With Dickey on the hill, Banister remembers Wakefield
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
Walker to meet with specialist to help back
NEW YORK -- Neil Walker will see a specialist on Friday upon his return to Pittsburgh, after sitting out the final three of the four-game series in New York. It is a previously-scheduled appointment to diagnose his progress with a lower-back problem, not in response to any new development.The possibility of the second baseman remaining shelved for the season's final homestand, and final six games, is still under consideration. "We're still evaluating, working through that," manager Clint Hurdle said. "We're trying to make sure we get the right diagnosis. We also have to stay connected to the player, listen to what he has to say." In Walker's absence, Josh Harrison made his third straight start at second base -- and fifth consecutive start overall. Harrison was 7-for-18 in the first four of those, and was hitting .308 (16-for-52) in his last 13 starts.
Beginning with Thursday's game, Pedro Alvarez had three remaining shots at a 41-year high for homers in day games by a Pirates player. Willie Stargell had 19 in 1971; Alvarez has 18. In Friday night's opener of their upcoming season-ending homestand, the Pirates will top last season's final attendance of 1,940,429. Before the six games with the Reds and the Braves are over, the Bucs will cross the 2 million barrier for the first time since 2000, PNC Park's inaugural season. The Last Word
"I'm never surprised by what can happen in a player's free agent year. It's a wild card. I've seen players get to a really good place, because it frees them up. I've also seen players struggle, because it locks them up."
- Hurdle, on Kevin Correia having a chance to match his career high of 12 wins in his "walk" year.
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.