Harrison making progress in injury rehab

Harrison making progress in injury rehab

NEW YORK -- On the very first pitch of Triple-A Indianapolis' game on Thursday, Toledo's Daniel Fields ripped a hard grounder snared with an all-out dive by second baseman Josh Harrison.

Harrison could not get an out on the play, but of greater significance -- besides that he would appear at second in only his second Triple-A rehab game -- was how well the left thumb felt inside the glove that made that play. The torn ligament in that digit shelved Harrison six weeks ago.

On the other side of the keystone, shortstop Jordy Mercer (sprained left knee) also passed a significant test: He had to backhand a ball in the hole, planted, and got off a strong throw to first.

Both played seven innings in a 3-0 win, and were said to have hit multiple balls hard, although Harrison was hitless while Mercer went 2-for-4.

Hurdle spent some time on the phone with both on Friday and said, "They're in a good place."

It was not the first time the pair formed a double-play combination. They were a tandem in 13 games last season, before erstwhile utilityman Harrison made himself at home at third.

Touching all the bases

• First: The help of former Pirates first baseman Kevin Young, who mentored Pedro Alvarez's transition to first base from third, may not be needed by Aramis Ramirez.

"It's something we do have in our pocket if we think it's necessary to go get Kevin Young," Hurdle said. "But [Ramirez] just has good hands, good feet ... fluid movements. I don't think it's a similar situation as it was with Pedro."

• Second: Vance Worley reported to Indianapolis on Wednesday and once he gets on the mound "to see where he's at, we'll decide what kind of (comeback) format to go to," Hurdle said.

• Third: A.J. Burnett (elbow inflammation) had two sessions of 100-foot long toss in St. Louis, will have a couple sessions at a longer distance, then the attention will turn to when he might throw off a mound.

• Home: Reliever Rob Scahill (forearm tightness) spent the last couple days on side work and could get some game action with Indianapolis on Saturday. Scahill is eight days into his 30-day rehab assignment.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer and on his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.