PITTSBURGH -- Neil Walker and John Wehner now have more in common than just getting drafted by the Pirates as hometown kids.
Walker's 5-for-5 effort at the plate in his team's 11-9 win over the Brewers on Tuesday made him the first Pittsburgh rookie to record five hits in a game since Wehner accomplished the feat against the Braves on July 23, 1991.
"It's awesome. John's my man. I love John," Walker said of the current Pirates TV broadcaster. "It's a special day and certainly something I'm going to remember forever, really."
Playing in his 41st game since being called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, Walker had four singles, one double and one RBI out of the No. 3 spot in the order, lifting his batting average to a team-best .311 -- which was news to him.
"I don't even think about that," Walker said. "That's beyond the point. I'm more happy that we're moving in the right direction, that we're winning ballgames, that we're in games and that we're scoring runs from the offensive standpoint. The offensive stuff, that will take care of itself, I truly believe that. But that's obviously nice."
The second baseman now has four consecutive multi-hit games, three of which have been in Pirates wins. He is hitting .632 (12-for-19) during this stretch.
"One thing about Neil, he has a knack for getting the bathead to the ball and using the whole field," Bucs manager John Russell said. "He's been very consistent. He's a tough out."
-- Matt Fortuna
McCutchen misses second straight game
PITTSBURGH -- Andrew McCutchen did not play for the second straight game on Tuesday and remains day-to-day after suffering a mild sprain of his right AC joint while making a diving catch in the eighth inning in Sunday'a 9-0 win over Houston. He still can not throw or hit.
McCutchen did have more movement in his right arm on Tuesday than he did a day earlier. The center fielder did some light jogging with his teammates and fielded balls from bench coach Gary Varsho in the PNC Park outfield before the Pirates' game against the Brewers.
"I've never been injured, so I don't know how long it takes," McCutchen said. "But with the progress that I've made over the past couple of days, [it] kind of caught me by surprise, so hopefully sooner than later is what I'm thinking. So hopefully sometime soon, in the next day or so, we'll see what happens and we'll go from there."
McCutchen, who said he feels hitting will be more of a challenge than throwing once he is able to do both, remained confident that he would not shy away from hits similar to the one that caused the injury on Sunday, a shallow flyball from the Astros' Pedro Feliz.
"I know once I feel good all it takes is a swing or a throw, and then I'll say, 'Oh, it feels all right,' and then I'll be my normal self again," McCutchen said. "So until I do that -- can't do it yet -- so until I do that I'm sure I'll be back to normal. Hopefully I'll be able to do it sooner than later."
-- Matt Fortuna
Pirates planting seeds for Pepsi Refresh
PITTSBURGH -- Andrew McCutchen can swing a baseball bat with the best of them. Show him a flower, and he can be equally impressive.
"We had a plant in middle school, it was just art class," McCutchen said. "We were able to plant a huge garden in this open area, so we grew a lot of plants. We had to learn the names of all of them, so pretty much any plant you plant in front of me I should be able to name. It's pretty fun, so we dedicated it to a teacher of ours who had passed away."
If votes swing the Pirates' way, McCutchen will have some more planting to do. The center fielder -- along with broadcaster Tim Neverett, club president Frank Coonelly, the Pirate Parrott, Pittsburgh mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Pepsi's Becky Winters -- spoke to a large gathering of kids Tuesday morning inside the Homewood-Brushton YMCA about the opportunity to compete for a $200,000 grant from Pepsi to move the community forward as part of the Pepsi Refresh Project.
Competing with 14 other Major League teams to receive the grant, the Pirates have partnered with the City and the Student Conservation Association to give youths the education, tools and support to cultivate an urban garden in Homewood. They would grow fruit and vegetables in the garden and donate them to the hungry and non-profit organizations, including youths in programs at the Homewood-Brushton YMCA.
"I like to joke we are referred to as the Black and Gold city because of each of our three sports teams and the black and gold," Mayor Ravenstahl said. "We are slowly but surely becoming the black and gold and green city by focusing on sustainability and environmental values."
After the press conference, McCutchen stayed and signed autographs for the kids, who were all wearing black Pirates hats.
Fans can vote until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 17 by going to MLB.com/PepsiRefresh or by texting "Pirates" to 76462, which was more intriguing to one kid in the crowd after Coonelly informed the children of the method.
"My phone has minutes," the eager child shouted, to a chorus of laughs from the entire room.
Thanks to the mayor, her minutes were not a concern.
"To the lovely young lady that's worried about her minutes," Mayor Ravenstahl said, "after we're done here today, why don't you come up with me and we'll send a text message on my phone and we'll be the first ones to vote?"
-- Matt Fortuna
Bucs sign up eight Latin players
PTITSBURGH -- The Pirates announced the signings of eight more Latin American players on Tuesday. Those players include outfielder Yunior Aquiles, 16; left-hander Cristian Henriquez, 18; right-hander Yunior Montero, 16; left-hander Melvin Rosario, 18; outfielders Miguel De Aza, 17; second baseman Rodney Polonia, 17; right-hander Isaac Sanchez, 17; and catcher Heriberto Figueroa, 21.
Sanchez and Figueroa are scheduled to join the Pirates' Dominican Summer League team this season, while the other six will play in the DSL beginning in 2011.
Polonia is the son of former Major League player, Luis Polonia, whose 12-year career came to an end in 2000.
Catcher Ryan Doumit was out of the starting lineup on Tuesday after being hit in the mask with a foul tip in Monday's game. The Pirates haven't diagnosed Doumit with concussion-like symptoms, though manager John Russell said that Doumit was not at 100 percent after Monday's game. He was available to pinch-hit on Tuesday. ... Infielder Brian Friday (ankle) ended his Minor League rehab stint with Class A Bradenton and has rejoined Triple-A Indianapolis. ... Double-A infielder Shelby Ford has been placed on the disabled list with a sprained right ankle. Ford was hitting .242 in 55 games with the Curve before the injury. ... The organization was represented by two players -- left-hander Angel Sanchez and catcher Samuel Gonzalez -- in Monday's Dominican Summer League All-Star Game. Gonzalez ranks third in the league with a .360 batting average this season. ... The Pirates' Venezuelan Summer League team has the league's best record (35-16) and entered Tuesday with a nine-game winning streak.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Matt Fortuna is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.