Neil Walker 2B PIT 4 Months

Walker went 1-for-3 with a three-run homer in Saturday's win over the Reds.

Walker's homer off Alfredo Simon in the first inning was all Pittsburgh would need, as starter Vance Worley pitched a gem en route to a 3-2 Pirates victory. With 18 home runs on the year, Walker is now just two off of Brian Dozier for the major league lead among second baseman. He leads NL second baseman in homers by significant margin.

Neil Walker 2B PIT 4 Months

Walker went 3-for-4 with a double and three RBI against the Brewers on Saturday.

Two of his three run-producing hits were little more than flares hit to left field, but Walker -- who entered Saturday with the 19th-best line drive percentage (22.7) in the NL -- will gladly take any luck he can get. Fantasy owners need to continue monitoring Walker and his wonky back, but for now he's playing well and appears healthy.

Neil Walker 2B PIT 4 Months

Walker is out of the lineup Wednesday against the Braves, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.

Though a switch-hitter, Walker has performed much better against right-handers (.278/.347/.457) than lefties (.259/.317/.336) over his career, prompting manager Clint Hurdle to give Jayson Nix a look at second base. Walker should be a regular in the Pittsburgh lineup most nights regardless of the handedness of the opposing pitcher, but his recent return from a back injury might have also factored into Hurdle's decision to give him a day off.

Neil Walker 2B PIT 4 Months

Walker smoked his career-high 17th homer Monday, going 2-for-4 with a walk against the Braves.

The second baseman made just his fourth start in August due to a back injury. Walker is 3-for-9 against Tuesday starter Aaron Harang and is expected to then get the day off Wednesday.

Neil Walker 2B PIT 4 Months

Walker (back) will likely be in the lineup for the Pirates' next three games, starting Sunday, but will have Wednesday off, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

The Pirates want to make sure that Walker will be able to stay on the field for the rest of the season, albeit with scheduled days off to prevent his back issues from flaring up. Jayson Nix seems like a probable replacement when Walker stays in the dugout.

Neil Walker 2B PIT 4 Months

Walker is out of the Pirates' lineup Saturday against the Nationals.

Although Walker was able to play a full nine innings Friday in his return from a five-game absence, the team evidently feels he's not quite ready to start on consecutive days. Jayson Nix will start in his place Saturday, but look for Walker to return to the keystone for the series finale against Washington.

Neil Walker 2B PIT 4 Months

Walker went 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored Friday in just his third start since July.

Walker made it through the entire game, a good sign for the second baseman. With Andrew McCutchen on the DL for at least another four days, the Pirates will rely on Walker to provide punch in the middle of the order -- he hit cleanup against a right-handed starter Friday, but will likely bat lower Saturday with southpaw Gio Gonzalez on the mound for Washington.

Neil Walker 2B PIT 4 Months

Walker (back) is in the lineup for Friday's game against the Nationals, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.

Back issues have kept Walker from 10 of the team's last 12 games, but he was available off the bench Thursday and will return to the lineup Friday to take on right-hander Tanner Roark. Walker will slot back in as the cleanup hitter, a spot in which he's hit .260/.325/.521 with four homers in 73 at-bats this season.

Neil Walker 2B PIT 4 Months

Walker (back) could return to the starting lineup Friday against the Nationals, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.

Walker was waiting in the on-deck circle Thursday as a pinch-hitter. Manager Clint Hurdle believes that could return to second base very soon. "We're optimistic he might be more than that Friday," manager Clint Hurdle said. He's made just one start since Aug. 2 because of a back injury that the Pirates have never specifically identified. Walker is sitting on a .277/.347/.456 line with 16 homers and 50 RBI.

Neil Walker 2B PIT 4 Months

Walker (back) remains hopeful he won't require a trip to the disabled list, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune reports.

Walker has missed eight straight games for the Pirates, but insists on continuing to go through with his regular pre-game routine. The hope is that one of these days he'll respond well to taking batting practice, and be ready to be re-inserted into the lineup. If he does end up requiring a DL stint, it could be backdated to Aug. 10, as he made a pinch-hit appearance on Aug. 9. Michael Martinez and Jayson Nix have been covering second base in his absence.