The Pittsburgh Pirates today officially named Neil Walker their starting second baseman. Manager John Russell announced prior to Monday’s game that Walker will now become the everyday second baseman.
Walker will replace Aki Iwamura in the starting lineup for the foreseeable future. Iwamura has been horrendous at the plate, batting .173 on the season and has also struggled in the field.
According to Russell, Iwamura, the teams highest paid player ($4.85 million) will now become a bench player and will see time off the bench at second and third base.
The Pirates traded young reliever Jesse Chavez to Tampa Bay in exchange for Iwamura during the offseason. Iwamura was coming off a season in which he appeared in less than 70 games due to knee surgery.
As an organization, the Pirates deserve praise for deciding to move forward with Walker as their second baseman. There were serious doubts that the Pirates would be willing to pull the plug on the Aki Iwamura experiment due to Iwamura being the highest paid player on the team.
Walker celebrated his promotion, going 2-for-4 in the Pirates 2-1 win against the Chicago Cubs on Monday afternoon. The 24 year old is batting .321 on the season and has 4 multi-hit games in just 7 games since being recalled last Tuesday.
The Pirates snapped a 5 game losing streak with their 2-1 win on Monday as the team continued their dominance against the Cubs
The Pirates were coming off a 1-6 road trip and had lost 9 of 11. The Pirates were 6-1 in May against the Cubs but were 5-17 against the rest of the National League.
Pinch-hitter Bobby Crosby singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning and Garrett Jones homered for the Pirates in the 6th.
The Pirates won despite scoring three runs or fewer for the 11th time in 12 games. They continue to struggle to score runs but got a strong performance from starter Ross Ohlendorf.
Ohlendorf struck out six and walked two while allowing three hits over seven innings. Ohlendorf (0-3) received a no decision and is winless in his last 10 starts.
Evan Meek (3-1) took the win and Octavio Dotel received his 11th save of the season.
Pitcher phenom Stephen Strasburg will make his major league debut June 8th against the Pirates, according to MLB.com’s Bill Ladson.
Strasburg has a 1.43 ERA in 10 starts and has allowed just 28 hits and 12 walks in 50.1 innings.