MLB.com reports that Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Neil Walker, whose season ended early due to a herniated disk in his lower back, should be ready in time for spring training 2013.
Wednesday's update discloses that Walker, a Pittsburgh native, has begun participating in strength and conditioning programs.
The 11th player chosen in the 2004 amateur draft, Walker took over the Pirates' second base job in 2010. His numbers have been consistent since then, compiling a career .280 batting average, the same as he finished with in 2012.
Walkers first injured his hand on Aug 15 while trying to turn a double play. He landed on his right hand as he awkwardly avoided the Dodgers Mark Ellis barreling into second base, dislocating his right (throwing) pinky finger. Walker missed only 4 nights before returning to the lineup. From mid-August on, however, he was bothered by a tightness in his lower back that was eventually diagnosed as a herniated disk. He stopped playing in games about a week before the 2012 campaign ended. The prescription for recovery was rest.
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