Walker likely to join Pirates in St. Pete

Walker likely to join Pirates in St. Pete

CHICAGO -- Neil Walker beat the rest of the Pirates to Florida. They all anticipate a happy reunion in a couple days.

The Bucs were set to depart for St. Petersburg following their finale with the Cubs for an Interleague series with the Rays. Walker is already in Bradenton -- about 35 highway miles from Tropicana Field -- for a brief rehab assignment with the Class A Advanced Marauders.

Walker was scheduled to start Sunday's game at second base and play all nine innings.

Barring any unexpected setbacks, Walker will rejoin the Bucs during the three-game set against the Rays. Placed on the disabled list following his June 9 appendectomy, the second baseman is eligible for activation Tuesday.

"I do anticipate [his return during the Tampa Bay series]," said manager Clint Hurdle, possibly not anticipating as eagerly the decision he will have to make when Walker returns.

That will mark the first mutual day on the roster for him and right fielder Gregory Polanco -- who play the two positions where Josh Harrison has primarily excelled.

On Sunday, Harrison started at second base, where he had hit .387 in his first 10 starts.

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.