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Mercer's quick return comes vs. Gallardo

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PITTSBURGH -- Lefties have been Pedro Alvarez's kryptonite during his four-year career.

He has hit just .211 against southpaws, and he often finds himself on the bench when one takes the mound.

But Wednesday, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle sat his starting third baseman against a righty for the first time since June 5 for what Hurdle called a "performance break."

Alvarez is 0-for-15 career against the Brewers' Wednesday starter, Yovani Gallardo.

The same goes for shortstop Clint Barmes, who also took a seat in favor of Jordy Mercer, who was recalled earlier Wednesday from Triple-A Indianapolis after John McDonald went on the 15-day disabled list. Barmes is 1-for-17 career against Gallardo.

"I've seen them go to bat against this guy for two straight years," Hurdle said. "This is the third year, so we'll try something different."

The 26-year-old Mercer had played nine games for the Pirates this season. He was called up May 3 when second baseman Neil Walker went on the disabled list, then sent down Monday before making a quick return to Pittsburgh 48 hours later.

Entering Wednesday, the Oklahoma State product was hitting .258 with three home runs and four RBIs in 31 at bats, including a two-homer effort against the Mets on Saturday. For Hurdle, Mercer's performance this month and quick recall indicated a growing depth and strength throughout the organization.

"[To go] get Mercer, still fresh, who just left, it's good," Hurdle said. "And I'm able to plug him right back into the lineup, which is another benefit."

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. Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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