Mercer injury leaves Pirates scrambling for answers

The Pittsburgh Pirates just dropped three straight to the last-place Milwaukee Brewers. But that’s the least of their worries after the team revealed that shortstop Jordy Mercer will miss six weeks with a knee injury.

Already without third baseman Josh Harrison for likely another month with a thumb injury, Mercer is now sidelined with a lower-leg contusion and a sprain of the medial collateral ligament of his left knee. 

In a statement, the team said "a combination of rest, treatment and rehabilitation are the standard course of action for this type of injury."

It leaves the Pirates, 53-38 and 4.5 games behind the NL Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals, entering Monday’s start of a three-game series at AL Central-leader Kansas City.

Mercer’s injury happened in Sunday’s game when Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez slid near second base as Mercer fielded a ground ball and attempted to turn a double play. The ensuing collision took out Mercer, who had to be carted off the field.

Gomez later on Twitter offered his thoughts and a speedy recovery to Mercer, saying in no way did he intentionally try to hurt the shortstop.

It doesn’t do the Pirates much good, who hold a 4.5-game lead in the wildcard race.

Replacing Mercer in Monday night’s game against the Royals is South Korean slugger Jung-ho Kang, who slides over from is duties replacing Harrison at third base. Kang is batting .275 with five homers and 30 RBI in 75 games.

Sean Rodriguez will take over at third base, and will likely see a considerable amount of time there.

Photo Credit: Gene J. Puskar/AP