“I definitely feel like I came out on the upper end, if something were going to happen to me,” Walker said. “It’s really on me now, the pain tolerance and what not. The swelling is down considerably, which is good. It’s obviously still sore, but I’m going to do everything I can to get back as quickly as I can.”
Walker suffered the injury in the first inning against Los Angeles after attempting to turn a double play. Walker fielded the ball and ran to second base for the tag, then while making the throw to first, fell on the ground. Walker said he knew immediately that he dislocated his finger after landing.
“There was nothing said that I would be restricted,” Walker said, who added he can almost make a fist due to the swelling regressing. “I think the biggest hurdle is going to be swinging the bat, probably more focused than that would be swinging the bat left-handed because it’s the bottom hand. I’ve grabbed a bat a couple times today, but certainly haven’t swung at 90+mph pitches. It’s really going to go on how it’s feeling. I’ve had this before a couple years ago on the other side, so I know the feeling. I know the progression of swinging off the tee and moving forward to BP.”
Treatment, Walker said right now, is a lot of ice and lot of compression over night.
“I’m going to take a strength ball to make sure I don’t lose any kind of strength, because obviously I haven’t done much with it,” he said. “Other than that, it’s just a lot of ice and a lot of compression over night. There’s nothing that’s holding me back in terms of mobility and doing too much.”
The Pirates played rookie Jordy Mercer at second on Thursday in Walker’s absence. Manager Clint Hurdle said that the reason he played Mercer over Josh Harrison was that he felt he gave him a better shot off the bench with the shortened bench. Mercer could see the primary playing time there until Walker is healthy. Hurdle said before the game that a disabled list was not an option.
“Mercer, I do believe I want to see him [playing] there first right now with all the different circumstances we’re dealing with,” Hurdle said.
Walker is aware of where the club is in the pennant race and heading to St. Louis opens up a big series, in which both clubs are currently tied for second in the National League Central and for the second spot in the Wild Card.
“I’m certainly not going to do anything to compromise re-injuring it, or come back if the swelling has not subsided completely,” Walker said. “Every game from now on is very important, so I’m going to try and get back as quickly as I can.”
Hurdle said he has no plans to revert back to the five-man rotation early because of the short bench with Walker.