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Hurdle: Jordy Mercer will go back to Indianapolis once Neil Walker returns

Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

Rob Biertempfel writes that Clint Hurdle (UPDATE: not Neal Huntington, as Biertempfel was kind enough to point out) suggests that Jordy Mercer will return to Triple-A once Neil Walker rejoins the Bucs.

David laid out the case for such a move in our latest podcast. The idea is that Clint Hurdle simply won't use Mercer as he should, and so, given that Mercer could be the Pirates' starting shortstop next year, it's better to have Mercer playing every day rather than wasting away on the bench. (I'm not sure just declaring Mercer to be the starter at shortstop would be an improvement, given the quality of Clint Barmes' defense.) That may be a realistic approach, given that we can't really trust Hurdle to use his players well. If I were the manager, I'd find at bats for Mercer at second and third against lefties and at shortstop on days when strikeout pitcher A.J. Burnett is on the mound. But in the real world, that isn't going to happen.

This is disappointing, though. The difference between Mercer, Brandon Inge and John McDonald isn't gigantic in the grand scheme of things (at least not if they're all going to be bench players), and I suppose there's some case for keeping McDonald in the organization as extra depth, due to his glove. They can't option him to Indianapolis. But at some point, you'd like to see the Pirates just keep the better player.