Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mercer's Time May Be in '14

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Mercer's Time May Be in '14

Article excerpt

Jordy Mercer's time will come in Pittsburgh, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said Monday.

It just won't be right now.

The Pirates optioned the hot-hitting infielder to Class AAA Indianapolis Monday to make room on the active roster for second baseman Neil Walker, healed from a deep cut to his right hand.

"He's headed to have his time, and it very well could be this season," Hurdle said of Mercer.

Mercer is the only one of the three major league capable shortstops who has options remaining, meaning he was the only one the team could send to Indianapolis without fear of losing to another team through waivers. Though the Pirates eventually could part with one of those players -- Clint Barmes or John McDonald -- the front office is not comfortable doing so until Chase d'Arnaud (torn thumb ligament) returns from the 60-day disabled list. That could happen as soon as June 1.

"In three weeks, we'll have more shortstop depth," Hurdle said. "We might be able to look for a different combination or a different way to attack things."

Barmes is making $5.5 million guaranteed this season, and his advance defensive metrics make him valuable to the team even though he was hitting .219 with a .265 on-base percentage entering Monday. McDonald, whom the Pirates acquired in a trade after d'Arnaud had thumb surgery in spring training, was hitting .067 entering Monday.

Mercer hit .258 with 3 home runs, 4 RBIs and 5 runs scored in nine games with the Pirates. He was hitting well in Indianapolis before being called up earlier this month and has played his way into the team's plans for 2014.

"I'm a fan," Hurdle said. "If the way things would play out and in 2014, comes to spring training, he could very well be the guy to get the shot to play at shortstop."

His defensive numbers at shortstop have improved in Indianapolis - - from a . …

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