Jaxx Notes: Walker Day-to-Day

Double-A West Tenn was swept at Mobile on Sunday, dropping the finale of a five-game series, 6-2. The Diamond Jaxx were outscored 19-10 in the series and played the final three games minus their all-star center fielder, Chris Walker.

Walker, who had participated in his third consecutive All-Star game earlier in the week, left Thursday's 3-1 Jaxx loss with a strained hip flexor. He sustained the injury attempting to steal second base following a leadoff walk in the sixth inning and was lifted in favor of INF/OF Richard Lewis.

The Jaxx leadoff hitter, who has 35 stolen bases in 48 attempts this year, said following the team's Sunday loss that the injury was not serious and that he expected to return to the lineup later this week.

Jaxx hitting coach Tom Beyers was sure glad to hear it.

"There's no doubt he's the MVP of our team," Beyers said of the 26-year-old Walker, a Georgia Southern alum. "When he's clicking, our team is clicking. I can't think of anyone in our lineup that's been more consistent than him. He's been great in the leadoff role and has played great defense."

Walker was making a rare start in right field on Thursday, where he's been only five times this season. He is batting .305 through 89 games.

"It was tough at first," Walker said of the injury. "It also hurt a little bit. I'm not used to being out of the lineup like this. I'll be fine in a few days."

In the meantime, the Jaxx averaged two runs per game in the sweep. Their loss Sunday marked their longest losing streak of the season. All this after the team took three of five games from first-half Northern Division champion Chattanooga, a foe the Jaxx were especially hungry for going in.

"This was one tough series for us," Walker said of being swept by the BayBears. "The way I figure it, now we need to sweep them."

The Jaxx will have two opportunities to do that later this season, both in August. The team hit just .154 collectively against Mobile in the sweep, and that included second baseman Eric Patterson's 6-for-17 outburst.

West Tenn fell to 12-13 in the second half following Sunday's loss. They have Monday off and will host Montgomery for five games beginning Tuesday.

Walker and company hope the switch-hitter will be a part of that series.

"I have such a respect for Chris because I was with him when they first asked him to switch hit," Beyers recalled. "Making that adjustment to the left side when you've never been over there, he's worked through a lot of hard times and is now one of the top left-handed hitters in the league."

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