Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer begin rehab stints with Indianapolis

While working their way back to the Pirates from their respective injuries, Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer start a rehab assignment with Indianapolis on Tuesday night.

While both put solid swings on the ball in batting practice, Mercer was still sporting a bulky brace on his left knee from where he was injured last month.

As for their use, Indianapolis manager Dean Treanor said that both will play seven innings on Tuesday night, followed by a day off on Wednesday, then seven more on Thursday, before another off night on Friday. From then on, how they feel will determine everything moving forward.

“It will change for both of them after that,” Treanor said. “One will be a little more progressive than the other one. After seven innings tonight and on Thursday, then they will go to nine innings.”

With the time frame and the extent of the injuries, Harrison seems more likely to get escalated quicker than Mercer, but both will be welcome additions back to Pittsburgh when the assignment is complete.

  • When players do a rehab assignment in AAA do they need to make moves on the AAA team and move players around.

  • A question… because I am just learning about these things.

    Will Harrison and Mercer being on the field, in the lockerroom and on the bench at Indy for a couple of weeks, provide a positive example and be role models for the young players the Pirates now have at Indy and who are only shorts steps from the major leagues?

  • mercer still seemed to be limping over the weekend.

    • My guess is that they don’t bring Mercer back until September so they can keep Ishikawa around as a pinch hitter for the balance of August.

      • Sounds like the prudent thing to do.

      • Who do you drop from the 25-man then? Florimon? He’s the only credible backup SS, and since he was outrighted once already, he could refuse the assignment and become a free agent, leaving the Pirates pretty thin at SS while Mercer rehabs. I mean, I guess JHay and/or Serpico could fake it for a few innings, but that’s a pretty big risk.

        On the other hand, Ishikawa is the only LH bench bat.

        Believe it or not, the move that leaves the Pirates LEAST vulnerable in that case would be to DFA Serpico. With Harrison back in the fold, you have coverage at all the key defensive spots and a much better RH bat, and Ishikawa is a good defensive 1B for late inning Pedro/Morse insurance.

        This will be a really interesting one to watch.

        • Actually, S Rod is an acceptable backup SS. Neither is gonna hit well, so if you have Kang+Harrison back with S Rod you dont really need Florimon. And losing him as a FA isnt really a big deal this late in the season.

          I dont think they care about the risk of losing him, since a no hit all defense SS is not something tough to find to stash in AAA. Idk how you would want to keep Florimon over S Rod.

          • If SRod’s acceptable as backup SS, someone forgot to inform his employers the last 3 years – 4 starts at the position since 2012. I’m sure he can fake it, just like I’m sure Harrison can fake it. The scenario you want to avoid is, Kang pulls a hamstring, Mercer is still hobbling in rehab, and you’ve just DFA’d Florimon.

            I’ll also point out that these guys don’t always make it through waivers late in the season. Just off the top of my head among former or current Pirates, Sellers was just claimed by the White Sox, Jayson Nix was claimed last August, John McDonald was acquired by Boston (2 moves after the Pirates traded him to Cleveland) the year before that, and Florimon himself was claimed last September by the Nats. So there is some risk in having only one true SS on the roster for some period of time.

            I’m not advocating one way or the other, I’m just pointing out that there are two tendencies at play here that make it more likely the Pirates would keep Florimon around until Mercer is up with the big club: 1) the big league roster always seems to have a defense-first backup SS; 2) the front office is very risk-averse when it comes to depth at up-the-middle positions. Possibly informed by the Great Catcher Recession of 2011, who knows. Many of the head scratching roster moves over the last several years (Michael Martinez, Felix Pie, Gorkys Hernandez, rostering John McDonald in the first place), where more talented options were passed over, have these tendencies behind them.

            So it may not be what you or I would do, but I think there’s a decent chance the Pirates would/will keep Florimon until Mercer returns, and DFA one of Rodriguez or Ishikawa.

            • Its rather misleading to use his “starts” at positions to judge S Rod’s middle infield defensive ability. He has few starts at both 2B and SS, and thats not out of poor ability but more how TB used/needed him. TB using him at 1B more doesnt make him a better option there.

              If how TB used him indicates his skills at positions, he’d not be a great option at 2B….but we’ve seen he is fully able to play a good defensive 2B.

              • His usage indicates his skill at positions relative to the team’s other options, particularly at the high end of the defensive spectrum. When the 300-400 innings for non-starters are divvied up by position, the players best able to fill in defensively at those positions get the biggest assignments, that’s how it usually works. It absolutely says something that the Rays and Pirates, two teams that substitute liberally and love their swiss army knives, have assigned those innings at SS to a number of players not named Sean Rodriguez. 40 innings in 3 years is all he has. That’s “emergency backup” territory.

                Seriously, don’t you think we’d have seen him at SS at some point this year? Ishikawa is a good defensive 1B and he’s been up for a month; Mercer’s been out for 2 weeks. Aramis Ramirez has been woeful at the plate and in the field. The opportunity to move Kang to 3B and have Rodriguez play some SS has been there, even for a few innings, and yet…

                • I concede the point, because teams dont use a player somewhere=you arent good enough on defense. Cant be another factor, gotta be no starts=bad defense.

                  Yes, he’s been used elsewhere. But to suggest lack of use=not good means he’s not a good 2Bmen because TB didnt use him there a ton. Which is absurd if you actually watch him play 2B. He’s capable of it easy. Is he a great option on defense at SS? No, but he can play an average SS in SSS. That’d be like saying Kang clearly cant play 2B because they havent started him there. He can, but they have (for multiple reasons) used both players elsewhere.

                  • Fair enough. In any case, it’ll be interesting to see who goes down when Harrison returns, assuming Mercer continues rehab at Indy. If Florimon, it suggests they’re comfortable enough with the notion of Serpico as backup SS. If anyone else, it would suggest they’re not.

        • Yes to DFAing Florimon. No hit SS are a fungible quantity. It’s unlikely someone will claim him. Harrison can back up Kang for a week until September when Mercer can be brought back.