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Mercer recalled, but Barmes still Pirates' shortstop

| Tuesday, May 29, 2012, 3:28 p.m.
Christopher Horner
The Pirates' Clint Barmes is congratulated by manager Clint Hurdle after defeating Colorado Tuesday April 24, 2012 at PNC Park. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Christopher Horner
Pirates shortstop Clint Barmes leaps over Washington's Bryce Harper after turning a double play Thursday May 10, 2012 at PNC Park. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review

Struggling shortstop Clint Barmes' job is safe, but he might be off the radar for a couple days.

Manager Clint Hurdle said Barmes, hitting .170, will take a few days to focus on his offense and try to correct his career-worst slump.

“I'm going to get him down to work on something, specifically hitting,” Hurdle said. “It might be a couple-day thing.”

Barmes' role is not in jeopardy, despite the arrival of hot-hitting Jordy Mercer from Triple-A Indianapolis on Tuesday. Mercer, 25, a third-round pick in 2008, is hitting .358 in May.

“Nothing has changed,” Hurdle said. “Barmes is our shortstop. Mercer was not brought up to replace Barmes.”

Hurdle said he spoke with Barmes after the call-up and assured the eight-year veteran he was the team's shortstop.

Josh Harrison started at shortstop last night; Barmes was a career .077 hitter (1 for 13) against Reds starter Homer Bailey. Utility infielder Yamaico Navarro was optioned to Indy.

“This is what it's all about, right here,” Mercer said. “This is what you dream about. I tried to sleep, but it was a lot of tossing and turning.”

The 6-foot-3, 200-pound former Oklahoma State star played 28 games at shortstop and 10 each at second base and third base at Indy. He was hitting .303 with three home runs and 22 RBI in 47 games.

• Hurdle said the move to Indy will allow Navarro, 24, to get consistent playing time. He was hitting .178 (8 for 45) with one home run and four RBI in 25 games, including 10 starts. He had played second base, third base and both corner outfield spots. “The kid needs to play,” Hurdle said. “We like him. We weren't getting him better in the role he was in right now, so we needed to get him down and get him playing.”

— John Grupp

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