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Restless Walker eager to get back on the field

PITTSBURGH -- Neil Walker still has seven days to go before he's eligible to come off the disabled list. It could be the longest week of the season for … Clint Hurdle.

"He's living up to that 'Dennis The Menace' nickname I dropped on him five minutes after I met him," the Pirates' manager said of Walker, who, eight days after being sidelined by an appendectomy, is becoming active and restless.

"I'm gonna go crazy in the dugout. I'm gonna take batting practice and grounders," Walker said early Tuesday afternoon in PNC Park. "Not that it's gonna do any good. I've got to wait the full 15 days [DL time]."

In addition to expanding his pregame workout, Walker was set to play his own "simulated game."

"He's gonna simulate being an extra man, he'll go up in the [indoor batting] cage and hit off the machine, with velocity and spin," Hurdle said. "The more he [yaps], the healthier he's getting. He came up here [into my office] twice today, which never happens when he's healthy."

Prior to arriving at the yard, Walker paid a visit to the doctor who performed the appendectomy, and he received the green light to proceed with accelerating his workouts.

When he does return, Walker conceded that his "oh-oh" moments will come when he tries to slide headfirst or has to dive for a ball on defense. There is no way to anticipate how his tender abdomen will respond.

Tom Singer is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer.
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