PITTSBURGH -- Neil Walker said he felt really good about a midday examination by hand specialist Dr. Tom Hughes, but the Pirates second baseman didn't really have to say anything on Thursday.
The look of his right hand, on which he had dislocated his pinkie Wednesday night, said it all: The splint was off, and the swelling was already noticeably down.
"All good news," Walker said following the Bucs' 10-6 victory over the Dodgers at PNC Park on Thursday. "No ligament damage, no restrictions. It's really on me -- my pain tolerance, being able to grip a bat.
"I can already make a fist and have picked up a bat. But I'm certainly not swinging at 90-mph-plus pitches. But I know the progression, doing it off a tee to batting practice. Obviously, it's still sore, but I'll do everything I can to get back as quick as I can."
Walker was injured while attempting to complete a double play in the first inning of Wednesday's 9-3 loss to Los Angeles. Jordy Mercer, normally a shortstop, started Thursday's game at second base, and the Pirates recalled Yamaico Navarro form Triple-A Indianapolis for extra infield depth.
Walker said the key for him will be being able to swing pain-free from the left side, when the right hand becomes the switch-hitter's bottom hand on the bat.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.