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05/30/12 1:26 AM ET
Bucs promote hot-hitting Mercer from Indy
Navarro optioned to Triple-A to see increased playing time
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
PITTSBURGH -- Infielder Jordy Mercer on Tuesday was recalled from Indianapolis by the Pirates, who in a corresponding move optioned Yamaico Navarro to the Triple-A club. Mercer, the Bucs' third-round pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, made his Major League debut in Tuesday night's 8-1 loss to the Reds, grounding out in his lone plate appearance. The 25-year-old Oklahoman was batting .303 with the Indians in 47 games, the majority at shortstop. "Unbelievable. This is what it's all about," Mercer said while taking his first looks around the Pirates' clubhouse at PNC Park. One of the things Mercer noticed was the No. 69 uniform hanging in his locker. "I had [No.] 5 [at Indianapolis], so it's a little higher," he said, grinning. "It doesn't matter, as long as I have a jersey." "He's earned this opportunity," Hurdle said of Mercer. "We like some things we saw in Spring Training, but the young man was still trying to figure some things out. He learned a valuable lesson being with us. His offense has picked up very well the last month." Mercer joins the Pirates as the International League's eighth-top hitter, and has been particularly hot in May. During this month, he has hit .358 in 24 games, hitting safely in each of the last eight, at a .424 (14-for-33) clip. Navarro had provided the Pirates with versatility, appearing at five different positions. But he was hitting .178, with a home run his only extra-base hit. "The kid needs to play," Hurdle said of Navarro, who was acquired in an offseason deal with Kansas City for Minor Leaguers Brooks Pounders and Diego Goris. "We like the bat, the versatility. But we weren't getting him better in the role he was in." For the time being, Hurdle flat-out dismissed many observers' reaction to the news of Mercer's promotion. "Mercer was not brought up to replace [Clint] Barmes. Nothing has changed; Barmes is our shortstop," Hurdle said of the veteran who has struggled offensively and is hitting. 175.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.