Walker returns from paternity list; T. Rivera optioned
Second baseman looks to resume hot streak after birth of daughter, Nora
By Troy Provost-Heron
NEW YORK -- Neil Walker hasn't had much sleep over the last three days, but he wouldn't trade those restless days for anything. Over that time, Walker has been on Major League Baseball's paternity list as his wife and he welcomed their first child, Nora Vail Walker, into the world at 3:06 a.m. ET on Tuesday.
The last three days have been dedicated to his newborn baby girl, but on Friday he returned to the baseball diamond. He was activated off the paternity list before New York's series opener against the Phillies at Citi Field and batted fourth in the Mets' lineup.
"[The last three days] have been exciting -- certainly new experiences into fatherhood and a new family member," Walker said. "It's been really fun. Certainly sad to leave this morning, but I'm back here, ready to work, ready to get back to the grind here and push these last several weeks to reach our goal."
In a corresponding move, T.J. Rivera was optioned to Triple-A Las Vegas. In 11 games with the Mets this season, the infielder has hit .314 (11-for-35) with three RBIs.
In the 21 games immediately before he landed on the paternity list, Walker batted .435 (37-for-85) with three doubles, a triple, six home runs, 14 RBIs and 16 runs scored. Other than stretching and a few crunches in the hospital room, there hasn't been any time for baseball activities, but the second baseman is hoping he can get right back to that level of production.
"Usually if you miss a couple of days you need a couple of at-bats to get your timing back," Walker said. "You hope your first few at-bats you get to see a lot of pitches and you can barrel up a few balls, and that rhythm will come back as quickly as it can."
Troy Provost-Heron is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.