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BRADENTON, Fla. (93-7 THE FAN) – It was not all that long ago that Jordy Mercer was the young guy in Bradenton anxious to become a big leaguer.

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But now – going into this seventh (and almost certainly his final) season in Pittsburgh – Mercer is the wise old shortstop doling out advice to the prospects. And he is happy to do it because it was done for him.

Clint Barmes was the incumbent as Mercer advanced through the minors and even when it became obvious that Mercer was going to take his job within a year or two, Barmes was always there. And now that Kevin Newman is the heir apparent with former first-round pick Cole Tucker behind him and Kevin Kramer who is next in line at second base Mercer is paying forward the favor that Barmes did for him.

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“I don’t know if there are words to describe how (Barmes) made the transition easier for me, and now I’m trying to do the same for them,” Mercer said. “It’s been really fun to see those guys ask questions because I’ve been in their shoes. I asked questions and I’m glad I did and I told guys the the same thing – there’s no such thing as a bad question.”

Besides adding to the family in the off-season, Mercer avoided arbitration by signing a $6.75 million contract and invested in “some land,” adding 175 acres to his already sprawling Mercer Ranch.

No new cows?

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“We’ll get some more cows later,” Mercer explained.