Neil Walker will not have the stitches removed from his right index knuckle by the time the Bucs return home on Friday -- as he'd originally hoped -- but the second baseman could still soon return to action. Perhaps even during the Milwaukee phase of this current road swing.

Manager Clint Hurdle provided the update Sunday morning, saying "the stitches are not going to come out in six days," one of the original timetables.

"But," Hurdle added, "he can play with the stitches in. We'll get him out [Monday], see what he is capable of doing throwing and swinging the bat."

In the short term, Walker may be looked on as possible help for the Pirates' thinned-out bench, while Brandon Inge and John McDonald -- who drew Sunday's start -- take turns in the lineup.

Walker was injured in the eighth inning of Friday night's game, as he went into second trying to break up a double play and Cardinals shortstop Pete Kozma landed on his right hand, spikes first, opening a six-stitch gash.