PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – It may be in the single digits today in Pittsburgh but that is not stopping the Pirates from holding voluntary workouts in Bradenton. Pirates SS Jordy Mercer called in to the Cook and Poni Show to talk about those workouts and how he is already looking forward to the 2014 season.

Mercer ended the 2013 season as the Pirates every day shortstop and he expects that he will open the season in that same spot.

“I am ready,” Mercer said. “I am better prepared than I ever have been.”

He says that last year was a big help for his career and he owes a lot of his improvement to Clint Barmes who will return to back him up this year.

Mercer tells the guys that he always thought that his glove was his strength but it was his bat that played well for him last season and the glove let him down. He is continuing to work hard to be more of a complete player.

Mercer says the 2013 Pirates only touched the surface and still have plenty left. He expects them to take the next step in 2014.

He tells the guys that he continues to speak to A.J. Burnett quite often but he doesn’t get into his decision with him because he says the two of them are friends and will continue to be so regardless of his decision on whether or not he will return to play for the Pirates.

“We are all just waiting to see what he is going to do,” Mercer said. “We want him back and we know he can still do it. It just comes down to whether he wants to continue to do it.”

Mercer said the Pirates are back on the map, which is why they will get their first ever featured game on Sunday Night Baseball on May 11 when they host the St. Louis Cardinals.

“We are making strides,” Mercer said. “We are no longer the team on the back burner”

Listen to the full interview with Jordy Mercer here:

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