Neil Walker sent to Triple-A


BRADENTON, Fla. — Neil Walker saw it coming.

This morning, Walker was optioned to Triple-A, one of eight players sent out of Pirates spring training camp. He’ll begin the season at Indianapolis for the third year in a row.

“I kinda knew they weren’t going to put me in the fire, as far as trying to play those new positions in the big leagues,” Walker said.

Drafted as a catcher, then converted to a third baseman in 2007, Walker expects to play mostly first base and the corner outfield spots at Indy.

“I know they want Pedro (Alvarez) to play every day at third base,” Walker said. “For me, it’s going to be a moving around type thing. I’ll play first base and left and right field. There’s really no top priority (position).”

Lineups for today’s game:

Astros – 1. T.J. Steele cf, 2. Kazuo Matsui 2b, 3. Jason Michaels lf, 4. Pedro Feliz 3b, 5. Chris Shelton 1b, 6. Edwin Maysonet ss, 7. Humberto Quintero c, 8. Drew Locke rf, 9. Felipe Paulino rhp

Pirates – 1. Andrew McCutchen cf, 2. Aki Iwamura 2b, 3. Garrett Jones rf, 4. Ryan Doumit c, 5. Jeff Clement 1b, 6. Lastings Milledge lf, 7. Ronny Cedeno ss, 8. Andrew LaRoche 3b, 9. Ross Ohlendorf rhp