This isn’t at all a problem.
It is, in fact, entirely the opposite.
Don’t look at it in terms of how Pirates manager Clint Hurdle is going to fill out his lineup card — particularly with infielders — over the next few days. Instead, look at it as a huge advantage as the Pirates swing through Philadelphia and then Chicago over the next week before returning home.
Forget the drama.
Save making this a spectacle. I’m not buying it.
Talk yourself out of joining the others who want to make a commotion out of this.
And — I know this isn’t great for the talk radio business — there is no controversy right now as the Pirates just got finished taking two-of-three from the red hot Cardinals.
Jung-ho Kang must play.
Josh Harrison will get his at-bats somehow.
Jordy Mercer will continue to see regular time.
Clint Hurdle will do just fine juggling playing time for everyone.
Lastly, baseball has a way of working these things out — there is, simply put, not some huge hullaballoo going on no matter what Twitter tells you.
Breathe easy Pirates fans, these are just the kind of things that happen when you have a team with manpower capable of winning, which hadn’t been the case for so long here in Pittsburgh.
So let’s all take a rest and extract ourselves from some Kang-Harrison-Mercer vortex and controversy because — for now at least — there isn’t one.
In a 4-3 victory on Sunday against those NL Central-leading Cardinals, Kang played conqueror, lifting the Pirates to an early advantage with a home run through that steamy North Side air and then singling in the seventh to break a tie.
The South Korean is now hitting .333 (16 for 48) with nine runs driven in and five extra-base hits in limited playing time.
Quite simply, he must be trotted out there as a starter, at some position, until he cools off as he is 7 for 14 in the last four games in which he’s appeared.
Kang’s upswing comes in sharp contrast to Harrison, who entered the season as the incumbent starter at third but spiraled to .173 at the close of shop on Sunday with an 0 for 3 effort.
Harrison has two hits in his last 34 at-bats.
That ain’t good. That’s really bad, actually. But are you of the mindset that this is anything more for Harrison than the normal ups and downs Major League Baseball players realize over the course of a career? I know I am not — I have confidence, mainly because of that bat speed and what he did last season, that Harrison will pull it back together.
Then there’s Mercer, who has been tremendous with the glove this season but is struggling to get to the .200 mark.
Mercer needs to start hitting more, just like Harrison does, but there isn’t even the smallest inkling for me that this is anything more for Mercer than a usual slump guys go through.
For now, when the Pirates go out there on Monday night in Philadelphia, Kang must be penciled into that starting lineup by Hurdle. Whether it is at third or short, he must get swings while he is this hot.
But, please, don’t see this as some sort of controversy or something on the left side of that infield that is problematic. Also, take a rest with all the scuttlebutt about Kang taking Harrison’s job.
As it stands right now, the Pirates merely have three capable guys for two starting spots, and that’s the way Hurdle must manage it.
It will all get sorted out; each guy will ebb and flow and something tells me Hurdle will patchwork in Kang, Harrison and Mercer perfectly.
It wasn’t that many years ago that the Pirates had trouble fielding nine guys who were truly, undeniably Major League Baseball starting-caliber capable.
That is the truth.
There’s no way to sugarcoat it.
This is also the truth: What’s going on right now with Kang, Harrison and Mercer isn’t just a good problem to have, it’s the ultimate indicator on how far this franchise has come.