Neil Walker is going home
“Neil, you need to lock it in because you’re going to Pittsburgh.”
Indians 3B Neil Walker let the words out of Manager Frank Kremblas mouth sink in and after a second or two did he realize his life long dream is a reality. Walker is joining the Pirates as a September call-up. He smiled and said thanks as each one of his teammates walked up to congratulate him. One of the first players to offer a hand was Brian Bixler.
“I’ve waited a loooooong time for this. This has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. I’m going to play for my hometown team.”
A once in a lifetime moment and he can share it with his family. Neil’s parents are in Indy to cheer on their son and their son-in-law Don Kelly. For Walker to share this with his parents, sister, nephew, and Kelly is icing on the cake. Now he needs to make his debut sometime before September 10th. If he debuts before the 10th he’ll be the same age (23) as when his dad Tom Walker made his Major League debut. Not a bad little story developing in Pittsburgh.
Walker joins Daniel McCutchen and Virgil Vasquez as September call-ups. Expect more, but I didn’t notice anyone else packing a bag in the Tribe clubhouse.
Speaking of McCutchen, how about his ML debut this afternoon? The 13 game winner for the Indians pitched 6 solid innings allowing 3 runs while striking out 5 Cincinnati Reds. He didn’t figure in the decision, but he more than held his own. McCutchen even singled home a run in his first at-bat. Great start to his Major League career.
The Indians lost tonight to Toledo 3-2 and if anyone in Pittsburgh is paying attention the Indians need some arms. With the departure of McCutchen, Vasquez, and Brad Lincoln, the Indians are missing three of their five starters. Ty Taubenheim, Eric Hacker, and Jeremy Powell (5IP, ER, tonight vs. TOL) are the only starters on the team. Due to only five available arms in the bullpen the Indians have called on 1B/OF Larry Broadway (2IP, 0R this season) and UTIL Chris Barnwell (2IP, ER this season) to pitch out of the ’pen. Tonight Barnwell pitched a scoreless 9th in a 3-2 game! He didn’t come into a blowout, but an actual situation where a zero was needed and the position player delivered. The Indians are carrying 8 pitchers as they prepare for the final 8 games of the 2009 season.