Walker shuts it down with herniated disc

Neil Walker has decided to shut it down for the rest of the season. Rather than continue the struggle of occasional play more than a month after being waylaid by a lower-back problem, the Pirates second baseman has pulled the plug on himself.

At the same time, Walker disclosed the full extent of the injury, which had not previously been disclosed:

“I have a herniated disc in my back,” Walker said.

He has wrestled with what for him was an excruciatingly tough call — “My goal was to help this team as much as I could.” — for days, even admitting having lost sleep over it.

“People probably raised their eyebrows when I would play one day and not play for a few days,” Walker said. “Rest is the biggest thing for this situation. It is getting better, but rest is important, and I won’t play the rest of the season. I’m shut down. That’s where we’re at.”

Since Walker’s injury — originally classified as “lower-back” strain, Brock Holt and Josh Harrison have taken turns at the position. Friday night, Jordy Mercer is getting his first start at second.

Walker did rule out the need for surgery, saying the specialists whom he has consulted reassured him that his condition was not that serious.

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