BRADENTON, Fla. (93-7 THE FAN) — Not that long ago, if the Pirates dabbled in something called the Execution Game, it might have meant something very different.

But in the Clint Hurdle era, the Execution Game is actually about executing proper baseball fundamentals.

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“Sacrifice bunts, bunts for base hits, moving guys over, moving guys in, sac flies,” says shortstop Jordy Mercer. “You name it, it’s all part of the Execution Game.”

This contest (of sorts) is done on the back fields against pitching machines, but prepares players for what may arise in the Grapefruit League games.

“It gets you more focused, especially with runners on base,” Mercer says. “How to attack a situation when it arises and you can carry it over to a real game.”

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Score is kept and posted in the Pirates clubhouse. In the current round, Andrew McCutchen leads with 29 points out of a possible 30. Mercer, Sean Rodriguez and Matt Joyce have 28. John Jaso is last this round with 16.

Incidentally, there may have been a few friendly wagers when the game started back at Pirate City, but now it’s purely for bragging rights.

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Listen to more from Jordy Mercer here: