Neil Walker receives six stitches in finger after slide into second base

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The Pirates could be without their starting second baseman for a little while. According to Tom Singer of MLB.com, Neil Walker required six stitches in the knuckle of his right index finger last night after he attempted to break up a double play and had his hand stepped on by Cardinals’ shortstop Pete Kozma. You can watch the play here.

Walker said it will likely be six or seven days for before the stitches are removed, though there’s a chance it could be longer before he’s completely comfortable with baseball activities. It’s not clear if the Pirates will make a roster move or go short-handed over the next several days.

“It was very, very deep — the deepest cut I’ve ever had for stitches,” said Walker, wearing a bandage around his right hand with blood stains on his uniform pants after the game. “I’m not excited that it happened, but I do feel fortunate that there was no damage to tendons or bone or issues like that.

Walker, 27, is hitting .253 (20-for-79) with one home run, eight RBI and a .693 OPS through 23 games this season. Brandon Inge is expected to fill in at second base for now.

Dominic Smith likely to start the season at Triple-A

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Following the Mets’ recent signing of first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports that fellow first baseman Dominic Smith is likely to start the season with Triple-A Las Vegas. That is contingent, of course, on the veteran Gonzalez’s ability to remain healthy, which isn’t a guarantee.

Smith, 22, struggled last season, batting .198/.262/.395 in 183 plate appearances. The Mets have also expressed concern about Smith’s conditioning. Puma reported in November that as a result of better dietary choices and a daily exercise regimen, Smith had already lost 11-12 pounds.

Gonzalez, 35, didn’t exactly have a stellar 2017 campaign. Along with battling back issues, Gonzalez hit .242/.287/.355 in 252 PA. That the Mets’ Plan A is to go with Gonzalez over Smith says something about their confidence in Smith.