06/16/12 9:10 PM ET
Pitching reinforcements on the way to Bucs
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
- 142 wins
- 110 wins
Mercer learning life as a reserve
CLEVELAND -- The vagaries of a Major League baptismal have certainly been experienced by Jordy Mercer, who could be let out of the Pirates' reserves protection program for Sunday's series finale with the Indians.The young infielder broke into the big leagues with a flourish, pinch-hitting the night he first joined the Bucs from Triple-A Indianapolis, then starting at shortstop two of the next three games. In the two weeks since the second of those two starts, on June 1, he has surfaced once, drawing a walk in a June 9 pinch-hit appearance. "Maybe [Sunday] will be an option for Jordy," said manager Clint Hurdle, who has committed most of the starting time at the position to Clint Barmes. "I need to make sure Josh [Harrison] gets in a game first. So, yeah, it's been a challenge. "If nothing else comes of it, the playing time has given him valuable experience. He's got a much better understanding of the game at this level. He gave us a nice look in a short window when he first got here. I thought he was much more comfortable than at any time during Spring Training, which was very good to see." Then there's the invisible aspect of the breaking-in of Mercer, a prime candidate to be the Pirates' shortstop of the future: The time spent in the clubhouse getting to know his veteran teammates, and the daily routines of big league life.
Would the universe implode if the Pirates played the Dodgers on a Saturday? The Bucs improved to 9-2 on that day of the week, while the Dodgers took a 10-0 Saturday record into their Saturday night game with the White Sox. Pedro Alvarez's multi-homer game was the third of his career and first since July 21, 2010, when he enjoyed the second of consecutive two-homer games against the Brewers. The Pirates improved to 14-2 when they get 10-plus hits, 14-4 when Alvarez collects an RBI and 4-20 in their last 24 Interleague games on the road.
The Last Word
"He was in a rough place early. Sometimes, those things can send you the wrong way. But he stayed positive and focused."
-- Manager Clint Hurdle on Casey McGehee, who struck out with two men on in the first and hit into an inning-ending double play in the third -- but wound up Saturday driving in four runs, with a two-run homer and two-run single.
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.