Pittsburgh will activate second baseman Neil Walker from the disabled list for tonight’s game after he missed the past two weeks following an appendectomy.
Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports that Walker was slated to play in a minor-league rehab game Monday, but decided instead to rejoin the Pirates and take some swings during rehabbing right-hander Gerrit Cole’s simulated game. That apparently went well enough that the Pirates are convinced he’s ready to return.
Walker could serve as the designated hitter because the Pirates are playing the Rays in Tampa Bay, but manager Clint Hurdle will use him at second base, saying: “I don’t have any hesitation to play him in the field.”
Reds second baseman Scooter Gennett can become a free agent after the 2019 season. He has become one of baseball’s better second basemen since the Reds claimed him off waivers from the Brewers in March 2017. Over the last two years, he has hit 50 homers with an .859 OPS. The only second basemen with a better OPS (min. 700 plate appearances) since the start off the 2017 season are José Altuve (.900) and Daniel Murphy (.876).
Gennett is upset the Reds haven’t been in contact with him to discuss a contract extension, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Gennett said, “We’ve definitely opened it up. They know I want to play here. They know I enjoy playing on this team. I enjoy the fans. I enjoy the coaching staff. I enjoy my teammates. They know all that. There’s nothing else to tell them at this point. It’s waiting for them to come back, which they have not.” He added, “(We’ve) heard absolutely nothing. Zero.”
As Fay points out, Gennett was born in Cincinnati and grew up a Reds fan, so this is a cinch for the club if it makes any effort. The Reds presently have just $58 million in 25-man roster obligations for the 2020 season.