Jordy Mercer Working Back Into Game Shape, Josh Harrison Picks Up a Hit

Tuesday night marked the first time that Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer stepped on the field since their respective injuries.

While Mercer was not tested much on defense, he did get three at-bats at the plate, striking out in his first at-bat before grounding out twice. The final ground out was sharply connected, but hit right at the second baseman.

For Mercer, Tuesday night was just about getting back on the field and getting comfortable.

“Just getting back out there and getting the feel a little bit [was nice],” Mercer said. “You can practice all you want, but you can’t get the feel for what happens in a game with game speed and things like that. It responded well and felt good. It was just good to get back out there.”

Prior to the game in batting practice, Mercer was wearing a heavy brace. During the game, he also had a brace on, which he expects to have on for the near future until he works back up to the comfort level to remove it from his front plant leg at the plate.

“I think that it is an adjustment [to the brace],” Mercer said. “It is getting better. It is not healed just yet. It is really close and that is why I wanted to come early to start playing some games. I wanted to get some under my belt and see how it responds in game mode. The brace is just for protection right now. I am going to wear it for a few games and hopefully work my way out of it by the time I get back up to Pittsburgh. I want to be full go with no brace.”

As for his return to Pittsburgh, Mercer admitted that the most important thing is how he feels tomorrow. While he hopes to help the team down the stretch, his goal is to get healthy first.

“I don’t really [have any expectations],” Mercer said. “Right now, it is just day-by-day. We are going to see how it feels tomorrow. Obviously it is probably going to be a little bit sore. I am just trying to get back into game flow, game shape, and help the team win up there.”

Unlike Mercer, Harrison picked up his first hit since going down with a thumb injury in early July on a slide. Harrison picked up his knock, going to the opposite field over the second baseman on a 0-1 low offering.

In his other three at-bats, Harrison grounded out twice and popped out another time.

Harrison was also tested on a defensive play, coming in on a ball. He made the scoop and a strong throw to first to beat the hitter for an out.

Both Mercer and Harrison played seven innings in the contest. They will do the same on Thursday after an off-day tomorrow. Friday will also be an off-day prior to re-evaluating each player for a possible full game.

Due to the game going extra innings, Harrison had left the clubhouse prior to media availability.

  • Looks like harrison is going to be the rover when he gets back. Which makes rodriguez a late innings defensive replacement.( best roles for both) Mercer will be a nice backup for kang, I really hope the pirates are not dumb enough to replace kang with mercer as kang is clearly the better player of the two.

    • I’m not good enough (and more important, too damn lazy) to do the math, but I think there’s a positive value in moving Kang back to 3b over ARam (Harrison wouldn’t provide the same value) when Mercer returns. ARam’s 4 errors (and numerous other missed chances that weren’t scored errors) and 5 GIDPs in just two weeks offsets a lot (if not all) of what he’s done with the bat recently.

      Thus, I think – without benefit of the supporting calculus – that the best net run production/prevention scenario is Kang at 3b and Mercer at SS in most cases. And that Harrison at 3b and Kang at SS would still be preferable to ARam at 3b and Kang at SS, but it’s closer, due to Harrison’s fielding decline this year (which is across all positions, not just 3b).

      A case could also be made to start SRod at 3b until he cools down. He’s had a terrific last two weeks and it wouldn’t be the worst idea to try to ride that out as long as he can sustain it.

      • Terrific? In comparison perhaps to the garbage he was for the 6 weeks before that, but certainly not terrific taking away context

      • Sorry kang is a much better ss than mercer both offensively and defensively. Kang is 2.8 war on offence, 1.1 war on defence. While mercer is -0.1 on offence and 0.4 on defence. Josh is 0.9 war ramirez is having a down year, I would still rather see him and jhay at third and kang a mercer at short with mercer as a sub or off day starter.

  • I would think with Mercer’s injury,
    he will be there at least two weeks.

  • I thought they wanted them to go 3 innings and then move up the count. The off day probably factored into that equation. Hopefully they have no ill effects today and get the rust off. Be nice if we get one of them to finish out this road trip.

    • Huntington said that he wants them to get 25 at bats down there. That would keep them there through Sunday.

      • Thanks Doug. I didn’t hear him say that. I thought some had speculated they may be down there until near end of August. That dramatically changes time table if they are only looking at 5-6 games worth of ABs. Where did you hear him say that? Thanks.

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