INDIANAPOLIS, Aug. 11, 2015 — The first-place Indianapolis Indians will receive reinforcements for their 2015 playoff push as Pittsburgh Pirates standouts Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer begin a Major League rehabilitation assignment tonight at Victory Field against the Toledo Mud Hens.
The two big league infielders will join an Indianapolis squad which already boasts the best record in the Intentional League and a 4.5-game lead atop the IL West division. With Harrison and Mercer penciled into the daily lineup, the Tribe now adds a pair of dangerous hitters who each batted .300 with the Indians in 2013, before becoming everyday starters for the Pirates during the 2014-15 seasons.
Harrison, 28, is returning to action for the first time since landing on the disabled list with a torn ligament in this left thumb on July 5. The now-third baseman starred in the Tribe’s middle infield during his final Triple-A stint back in 2013, and along with leading the IL with 46 hits over his last month of action, was named the IL’s starting shortstop of the 2013 Triple-A All-Star Game.
The Cincinnati, Ohio native then continued that success at the Major League level to earn a selection as a National League All-Star in 2014. He finished second in the NL in base hits last season and owns a lifetime batting average of .282 with 121 extra-base hits and 181 runs scored in 447 games with the Pirates.
Mercer, working his way back from a sprained ligament in his left knee from July 19, concluded his impressive Indianapolis tenure having led the entire Pittsburgh organization in home runs in 2011, earning an IL All-Star selection in 2012 and hitting safely in 20 of 26 total games during his final Triple-A action in 2013.
The 28-year-old native of Taloga, Oklahoma has since appeared in the big leagues for parts of each of the last three seasons with Pittsburgh. Dating back to and including his first MLB hit – a single off Cincinnati Reds All-Star Johnny Cueto in 2012 – Mercer has hit .258 with 23 homers and 106 RBIs in 374 career Major League games.
First pitch at Victory Field tonight is 7:05 p.m. with top pitching prospect RHP Tyler Glasnow scheduled to make the start for the Indians against Toledo’s RHP Luis Cessa.