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Pirates activate Jordy Mercer, place Travis Ishikawa on DL

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates have activated Jordy Mercer and have placed Travis Ishikawa on the disabled list with a lower back strain.

Mercer had a .629 OPS on his rehab assignment, although, as we've discussed before, rehab stats don't mean much. Hitting a bit more before he got hurt would have helped his case, though, now that the Pirates have an infield logjam. The Pirates will have to juggle playing time for him, Jung-Ho Kang, Josh Harrison and Aramis Ramirez. Kang has earned the right to play almost every day, so he'll surely be taking over shortstop some of the time, while also picking up at bats at third. Tonight, Kang is in the lineup at shortstop, with Ramirez at third and Mercer and Harrison on the bench.

Ishikawa was probably a candidate to be designated for assignment if he hadn't been placed on the DL, so the timing of his injury certainly is convenient. With Michael Morse (who's right-handed) along with Pedro Alvarez and Gregory Polanco (both left-handed) on the team, Ishikawa doesn't serve much of a purpose, and with a .203/.299/.305 line, he hasn't done much to justify a roster spot regardless, particularly with Morse hitting well. He could return to the team in September, though, when rosters expand.