By John Perrotto
August 20, 2015
Pirates third baseman Josh Harrison, above, and shortstop Jordy Mercer could rejoin the team during the series with the Giants. (Gene Puskar/AP)
PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates might get the starting left side of their infield back by the end of the weekend.
Manager Clint Hurdle said prior to Thursday night’s 4-0 win over the San Francisco at PNC Park that both third baseman Josh Harrison and shortstop Jordy Mercer could be activated from the 15-day disabled list before the four-game series with the Giants ends Sunday night.
Harrison has been on the DL since July 6 with a torn ligament in his left thumb. Mercer has been out since July 20 with a sprained left knee.
Both are on rehab assignments with Class AAA Indianapolis. Each has played in five games and Harrison is just 1 for 19 (.053) while Mercer is 3 for 17 (.176).
The imminent return of Harrison and Mercer is going to create a situation where the Pirates have more players than roster spots. Veteran third baseman Aramis Ramirez and rookie shortstop Jung Ho Kang have filled in well.
“Too many good players. Isn’t that going to be great?” Pirates manger Clint Hurdle said with a smile before Thursday night’s game.
Ramirez had hit .253 with one home run and 15 RBIs in 22 games going into Thursday since being acquired July 23 from the Brewers in a trade. Kang was hitting .329 with six homers and 17 RBIs in 37 games since Harrison was injured.
Hurdle said the Pirates know how they are going to distribute playing time once Harrison and Mercer return. Understandably, he was not ready to reveal it to the media because he has yet to talk with either player.
Some players are certain to lose playing time once Harrison and Kang return.
However, Hurdle is confident there will be no clubhouse grumbling from players whose at-bats are reduced. He points to Joakim Soria’s transition from closer to seventh-inning pitcher since being acquired from the Tigers on July 30 in a trade as an example of setting aside personal goals.
“You have a guy with 200 career saves, and he isn’t complaining,” Hurdle said. “One thing I’m really proud about is the clubhouse chemistry that has been created here. Guys don’t care about their roles. All they care about is doing whatever it takes to win.”