Neil Walker placed on 15-day disabled list

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Neil Walker hasn’t appeared in a game since July 6 because of discomfort in his right oblique. And he won’t be returning before the All-Star break.

According to the Pirates’ official team Twitter feed, the second baseman was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday evening and infielder Josh Harrison was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis to take his place on the active 25-man roster.

Walker, a native of the Pittsburgh suburbs, has registered a .244/.347/.384 batting line, six homers and 26 RBI in 72 games this season for the Bucs, who trail the Cardinals by a half-game in the National League Central. The 27-year-old hit .280/.342/.426 with 14 homers and 69 RBI in 129 games last season.

Hideki Matsui thinks Shohei Otani should pitch and hit in MLB

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Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.

Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”

Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.

The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.