First number, last word

.301 -- Jordy Mercer's batting average since May 31 and entering Thursday's game -- tops among Major League shortstops; the Cardinals' Jhonny Peralta was second among National Leaguers at the position, at .275.

"I didn't have a crystal ball saying he would be in the position he is now. But I didn't think he'd just be hanging on, either. I felt it was an important year for us to evaluate him. We've got a much better read on things." -- Hurdle on Josh Harrison, who before the end of July has reached career highs in every offensive category and has driven in more runs (37) than the last two years combined (30).

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