Pirates notebook: Mercer might see more action at 2nd base
By Rob Biertempfel
Published: Thursday, July 25, 2013, 3:00 p.m.
WASHINGTON — Neil Walker's funk against left-handed pitching could mean Jordy Mercer will get more starts at second base.
“It's an option,” manager Clint Hurdle said Thursday, when Mercer was in the lineup against Washington Nationals lefty Gio Gonzalez. “Neil and I have talked about it.”
A switch-hitter, Walker is batting .193 with a .435 OPS against left-handers. Against righties, he's hitting .254 with an .800 OPS. In 40 at-bats this year against lefties, Mercer is batting .325 with a 1.025 OPS.
“Neil's doing everything he can to get better,” Hurdle said. “He's aware of the splits.”
Walker came off the disabled list Tuesday after missing time with a sore oblique. Hurdle said that also factored into the decision to give Walker the day off Thursday.
Hurdle said the option of Walker giving up switch-hitting “hasn't even been broached yet.”
Tabata on mend
Jose Tabata was out of the lineup after being hit by a pitch on the right forearm the night before.
“He got splattered pretty good,” Hurdle said.
Tabata took some swings before the game Thursday and said he was able to pinch-hit, if needed.
Hello, I must be going
Vic Black was in the shower around lunchtime Tuesday when Triple-A Indianapolis manager Dean Treanor called with news that Black was going to the big leagues.
“He told me to pack my bags and get out,” Black said. “I said, ‘All right,' then proceeded to stare at my bag and try to get it to pack itself. I didn't really grasp what was going on.”
The promotion came after Jason Grilli went on the disabled list with a strained forearm. Black, who made 29 outings in his first season at Indy, didn't have much time to process the information. His flight was due to leave in about three hours.
He sent a quick text message to his parents: “I'm going.” In Amarillo, Texas, Black's father picked up his cell phone and wondered, “Going where?”
“Usually when I say that, it means I'm going to lunch or something,” Black said with a laugh.
Black also called his sister and texted two of his best friends — one who is an Army helicopter pilot in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and another who coaches in Arkansas.
Eventually, Black told his folks that he was going to the big leagues, not to lunch. They made it to Washington in time to see the games Wednesday and Thursday.
Morton more aggressive
Righty Charlie Morton is having more success this season against left-handed batters. Lefties have a .276 average and .833 OPS against Morton. Last year they had a .327 average and .914 OPS.
Morton was more aggressive against lefties Monday against the Nationals and used the inside part of the plate more often. Morton was inspired after watching A.J. Burnett pitch Saturday and handcuff Reds slugger Jay Bruce.
“A.J. is a big fan of pitching inside to lefties,” catcher Russell Martin said. “They've got about the same kind of movement on their fastballs. Charlie had that aggressive mindset, and it worked out for him.”
Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates notebook: Closer Grilli sharp in brief outing
- Spring training breakdown: Twins 6, Pirates 5
- New Pirates pitcher Eppley brings special delivery to team’s staff
- Martin would consider extending stay with Pirates
- Volquez is Pirates’ latest reclamation project
- Pirates rained out; Grilli debut on hold
- Healthy Pirates closer Grilli ready for encore
- Leyland content in new role with Tigers, rules out a return to Pirates
- Marte-McCutchen-Polanco outfield could rival franchise’s best
- Pirates notebook: Cole using spring training to get ‘feel back’
- Pirates notebook: Locke cautious with ‘pull’ in right side