Tuesday night marked the first time that Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer stepped on the field since their respective injuries.
While Mercer was not tested much on defense, he did get three at-bats at the plate, striking out in his first at-bat before grounding out twice. The final ground out was sharply connected, but hit right at the second baseman.
For Mercer, Tuesday night was just about getting back on the field and getting comfortable.
“Just getting back out there and getting the feel a little bit [was nice],” Mercer said. “You can practice all you want, but you can’t get the feel for what happens in a game with game speed and things like that. It responded well and felt good. It was just good to get back out there.”
Prior to the game in batting practice, Mercer was wearing a heavy brace. During the game, he also had a brace on, which he expects to have on for the near future until he works back up to the comfort level to remove it from his front plant leg at the plate.
“I think that it is an adjustment [to the brace],” Mercer said. “It is getting better. It is not healed just yet. It is really close and that is why I wanted to come early to start playing some games. I wanted to get some under my belt and see how it responds in game mode. The brace is just for protection right now. I am going to wear it for a few games and hopefully work my way out of it by the time I get back up to Pittsburgh. I want to be full go with no brace.”
As for his return to Pittsburgh, Mercer admitted that the most important thing is how he feels tomorrow. While he hopes to help the team down the stretch, his goal is to get healthy first.
“I don’t really [have any expectations],” Mercer said. “Right now, it is just day-by-day. We are going to see how it feels tomorrow. Obviously it is probably going to be a little bit sore. I am just trying to get back into game flow, game shape, and help the team win up there.”
Unlike Mercer, Harrison picked up his first hit since going down with a thumb injury in early July on a slide. Harrison picked up his knock, going to the opposite field over the second baseman on a 0-1 low offering.
In his other three at-bats, Harrison grounded out twice and popped out another time.
Harrison was also tested on a defensive play, coming in on a ball. He made the scoop and a strong throw to first to beat the hitter for an out.
Both Mercer and Harrison played seven innings in the contest. They will do the same on Thursday after an off-day tomorrow. Friday will also be an off-day prior to re-evaluating each player for a possible full game.
Due to the game going extra innings, Harrison had left the clubhouse prior to media availability.