MLB notes: Pirates' Walker has herniated disc

Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond (20) prepares to tag out Pittsburgh Pirates' Neil Walker...

Washington Nationals shortstop Ian Desmond (20) prepares to tag out Pittsburgh Pirates' Neil Walker (18) on an attempted steal of second base in the fourth inning of their National League MLB baseball game in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania May 10, 2012. (REUTERS)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:42 PM ET

Neil Walker, sidelined most of the past six weeks because of a sore back, has been diagnosed with a herniated disc, the Pittsburgh Pirates announced Friday.

The second baseman was having a solid season before the back ailment flared up in August. After sitting out for three weeks Walker came back for sporadic appearances in September.

The 27-year-old hit .280 with 14 homers and 69 RBI in 129 games.

TWINS HONOUR BUYOUT REQUEST

Minnesota Twins infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka was released Friday after absolving the team of its 2013 financial obligations, which included a $3-million salary or a $250,000 buyout.

Nishioka thanked the Twins for giving him the opportunity to play in the majors and took responsibility for his "disappointing performance."

The 28-year-old batted .215 in 233 at-bats over two seasons. He spent most of the 2012 season at triple-A Rochester.

WHO NEEDS A 40-YEAR-OLD?

At age 40, Los Angeles Angels reliever Jason Isringhausen is mulling retirement.

If the right-hander were to return next season, he would want to pitch for the Kansas City Royals or St. Louis Cardinals in order to be closer to his family, he told MLB.com.

"Not too many teams need a 40-year-old who's throwing 90 (m.p.h.) when they have kids throwing 96," he said.

Isringhausen had a 3-2 record and a 4.14 earned-run average entering play Friday.

INDIANS MULL FRANCONA, ALOMAR JR.

The Indians have narrowed their managerial search to Sandy Alomar Jr. and Terry Francona, Cleveland's WTAM reported.

Alomar, a fan favourite, has the interim job for the rest of the season, replacing Manny Acta, who was fired Thursday.

Francona has 12 years of managerial experience -- four with the Philadelphia Phillies, followed by eight with the Boston Red Sox.

BRIEFLY

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Chad Billingsley is testing his injured right elbow and hoping to avoid Tommy John surgery. Billingsley, who has a partially torn ligament, has been playing catch of late. He plans to step up the throwing program to see if the elbow can handle the strain ... Stephen Drew has given the Oakland A's a boost at shortstop, hitting .269 in 33 games since being acquired from Arizona in a trade in August. But it remains to be seen whether the A's will pick up the 29-year-old's $10-million option for 2013. It would make him the highest-paid player on the team ... Texas Rangers reliever Mike Adams has been sidelined indefinitely by a shoulder injury ... The Philadelphia Phillies reportedly will get 22-year-old second baseman Stefan Jarrin from the Dodgers as the player to be named in the Shane Victorino trade.


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