Neil Walker promoted


CINCINNATI – The Pirates this morning called up third baseman Neil Walker, their first-round draft pick in 2004.

Walker, a Pine-Richland High School graduate, is expected to be in uniform in time for tonight’s game against the Cincinnati Reds.

Walker, who will turn 24 in nine days, is the 20th former first-round pick to make it to the majors with the Pirates. In 95 games this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, he batted .264 with 14 home runs and 69 RBI.

In August, Walker led all International League batters with 29 RBI and 63 total bases. Last month, he hit .339, which ranked eighth in the league, and had 14 doubles and four homers.

The Pirates also recalled right-hander Virgil Vasquez.