Pirates Pregame: Mercer’s Role and Hurdle on Strasburg

Jordy Mercer will start at second base again today when the Pittsburgh Pirates host the Washington Nationals. Mercer, as many of you probably know by now, was called up Friday afternoon when Neil Walker was placed on the disabled list and hit what proved to be the game-winning home run in the fifth inning of the Pirates 3-1 win.

Jordy Mercer will start at second base for the Pirates on Saturday against the Nationals.

Jordy Mercer will start at second base for the Pirates on Saturday against the Nationals.

Mercer had been playing extremely well for Triple-A Indianapolis but almost exclusively as a shortstop. The common thought is that Mercer will be groomed as the club’s shortstop of the future, but Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said that for the time being Mercer’s role will be as a utility infielder.

“Those kind of thoughts and conversations would always be held internally and wouldn’t be shared until an appropriate time. Right now wouldn’t be an appropriate time,” Hurdle said. “He played a lot of second base in spring training and he played some third base in spring training. That was kind of the opportunity we gave him in camp to break with us as a spin utility guy. We have obviously a lot of good thoughts about Jordy and his opportunity to play shortstop in the future as we still do for Chase d’Arnaud as well.”

**

Stephen Strasburg will start on the mound for Washington today, and in case you’ve been living under a rock or in a coma the last few years you already know he is pretty good at throwing a baseball.

This season, however, has gotten off to a rocky start for the former No. 1 overall pick. Strasburg enters Saturday’s game with a 1-4 record and experienced some discomfort in his pitching arm during his last start (Monday against Atlanta) but  was given the green light to go ahead with his next start after a Wednesday bullpen session.

The won-loss record is deceiving however, as the Nationals have given Strasburg next to nothing in terms of run support so far in 2013. Hurdle said the Washington ace has one of the special arms in baseball and threw out some pretty good names when comparing him to other pitchers he has seen develop.

“I’ve seen him once live and that was last year,” Hurdle said. “It’s a special arm and I try to at least pay attention to the person with the arm. He seems to have found his way and seems to know what he’s doing. He’s very athletic not just pitching but on the field, swinging the bat. Time will tell but it’s as good a young arm as we seen, for me, I saw Felix (Hernandez) kind of develop in Seattle in 2010. I was a part of watching (Dwight) Gooden’s development in the dugout back with the Mets.”

**

Lineups:

Washington Nationals (15-15, 2nd place National League East)
1. Espinosa 2b
2. Desmond ss
3. Harder lf
4. Zimmerman 3b
5. LaRoche 1b
6. Moore rf
7. Ramos c
8. Bernadina cf
9. Strasburg p

Pittsburgh Pirates (17-12, 2nd place National League Central)
1. Marte lf
2. Snider rf
3. McCutchen cf
4. Jones 1b
5. Martin c
6. Alvarez 3b
7. Mercer 2b
8. Barmes ss
9. Locke p

Enjoy this story? Pirates Prospects will be switching to a subscription site on 4/13, so that we can continue bringing you the best Pirates coverage there is. For a very small monthly price, you can continue getting articles like this, along with coverage from every minor league city. Get more information here, and subscribe today!

Share This Article

Tom Bragg

Tom Bragg is a beat writer and analyst for PiratesProspects.com. He is the former sports editor of the (Fairmont) Times West Virginian and has worked at the Charleston Gazette, Charleston Daily Mail and the (Ashland, Ky.) Independent. His freelance work has appeared in newspapers all over West Virginia and he has written for The Associated Press with stories posted to several major media outlets (ESPN.com, SportsIllustrated.com, FoxSports.com). Tom graduated from Marshall University in May 2010 with a degree in Print Journalism. Follow Tom on Twitter: @TomBraggSports

Video: Hurdle talks Mercer, Burnett After Pirates Beat Nats

Next Story »

Video: Hurdle Talks Locke, Bullpen; Strasburg More Efficient

  • http://twitter.com/frsthypocrit frsthypocrit

    “What are you going to do with Mercer?”

    Clint Hurdle: “We’re not telling…”

    • http://atung.net/ Steve Zielinski

      Hurdle grows more annoying by the day.

  • derekbellstutu

    Yoy insert a healthy Walker & sub Mercer for Barmes & that’s a damn good lineup!

Latest Analysis

  • Keller Supak Hinsz

    Even With the New Draft Rules, the Pirates Are Still Loading Up on Projectable Pitchers

    1 day ago

    From 2008-2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates spent a lot of resources on projectable pitchers out of high school. So far, this approach has led to breakout performances from ...

    Read More
  • Josh Bell made the move to first base over the off-season. (Photo credit: David Hague)

    Why Should You Care About Prospects?

    3 days ago

    Yesterday I had a shorter day than usual. The Pirates had cuts at the MLB level, and a road game. The day was shortened at Pirate City, ...

    Read More
  • Gregory Polanco

    Q&A: Trading Prospects For Rentals, Polanco Concerns, Meadows vs Appel

    4 days ago

    I missed the Q&A last week due to a common problem in Spring Training: I forgot what day it was. It was around 6:00 that I was ...

    Read More
  • Nick Kingham f

    Improving His Two-Seam Fastball will Make Nick Kingham a More Effective Pitcher

    5 days ago

    With Jameson Taillon returning from Tommy John surgery, and unlikely to make an impact at the Major League level early in the year, the top prospect to ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero 3

    The Roster Situations That Could Impact the Makeup of the Pirates Bullpen

    7 days ago

    There are less than two weeks remaining in Spring Training, and the one area where the Pittsburgh Pirates had actual position battles is heating up. There were ...

    Read More
  • Jordan Luplow

    How the Pirates are Trying to Stay Ahead of the Curve With the New Draft Rules

    1 week ago

    The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a lot of changes to Major League Baseball. The biggest change for the Pittsburgh Pirates came in the draft. From 2008-2011, ...

    Read More
  • Alen Hanson

    The Key For Alen Hanson to Help the Pirates in the Majors This Year

    1 week ago

    When the Pittsburgh Pirates moved Alen Hanson to second base last year, part of the plan was to get him to the majors faster by putting him at ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow 2

    What the Stats Don’t Tell You About Tyler Glasnow

    1 week ago

    The stat line for Tyler Glasnow’s start at Pirate City yesterday looked great: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The lone run ...

    Read More
  • JaCoby Jones Josh Bell

    JaCoby Jones Did Fine in the Move to Shortstop, But Needs to Cut Down on Strikeouts

    2 weeks ago

    The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted JaCoby Jones as an outfielder in the third round of the 2013 draft, then surprised everyone the following year when they moved him ...

    Read More
  • Cody Dickson is a lefty with the upside of a middle of the rotation starter. (Photo Credit: Mark Olson)

    The Mental Adjustment that Led to Cody Dickson’s Dominant 2014 Second Half

    2 weeks ago

    Trusting his stuff and not trying to do too much — that has been the key for left-handed pitcher Cody Dickson so far in his professional baseball ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles

    More