8/5/2014 11:27 P.M. ET
Returning from back injury, Walker exits early
By Stephen Pianovich / MLB.com
PITTSBURGH -- Neil Walker returned to the Pirates' starting lineup on Tuesday night, but he left after seven innings with tightness in his back, according to manager Clint Hurdle.
The second baseman didn't play in either of the Pirates' final two games in a weekend series in Arizona due to the same issue.
Before Tuesday night's 6-3 loss to the Marlins, Walker placed some blame on the hotel beds he endured on the Bucs' recent 10-game road trip. Fresh off three days off -- and two nights in his own bed -- Walker noted he felt fine prior to Tuesday's game, but something appeared to have nagged him, prompting the early exit.
Walker was 0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored. He is on pace to have the best offensive season of his career, with a .278 average and a career-high-tying 16 homers.
Cole knocked around in second rehab start
PITTSBURGH -- The plan for Gerrit Cole in his second rehab start was to pitch six or seven innings and test his tight right lat by getting his pitch count near 100. The outing didn't go to script.
Pitching for Triple-A Indianapolis on Tuesday, Cole exited after 4 1/3 innings and gave up five runs on 10 hits in the process. Cole threw 74 pitches (53 strikes) and walked one to three strikeouts, but the game got away from him in the fifth inning. The last five batters the hard-throwing righty faced went double, walk, RBI double, three-run homer, triple.
Cole -- who's been on the disabled list for a month -- was originally supposed to start for Indianapolis on Saturday, but the team had that outing pushed back. Manager Clint Hurdle said the delay was to help the No. 1 pick of the 2011 Draft "regain form."
"No urgency, because we want him to come back and be able to be aggressive, and be mindful of just making pitches," Hurdle said Tuesday afternoon. "And to not just have a checklist that 'I got to do this, or this or this.' I think we made progress along those lines. Tonight, we'll have more information to make our next decision."
Cole (7-4, 3.78 ERA) also started in Triple-A on July 28, throwing five scoreless innings with five hits, three walks and seven strikeouts. This is his second DL stint of the season, as he also missed nearly all of June with fatigue in his throwing shoulder.
First number, last word
2: The number of games Andrew McCutchen did not start for the Pirates this season before Tuesday. The Bucs went 2-0 in those contests.
"More often than not, we deal with Eeyores. We all do in our life. And they don't even have the challenges that some other people have to meet throughout the day. I shared with him the other day that he's the second-most positive person I ever met. ... Because I'm the first." -- Hurdle on McCutchen's demeanor
• Josh Harrison carried an eight-game hitting streak into Tuesday's game with the Marlins. In those eight games, the All-Star utilityman hit .444 (16-for-36) with nine extra-base hits -- five of which are home runs.
Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.