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Harrison appreciates time spent with Pirates

Second baseman may be playing in his final week with Bucs
MLB.com @adamdberry

CHICAGO -- Josh Harrison didn't see it coming, but Jordy Mercer did. In the eighth inning on Sunday afternoon at PNC Park, Mercer looked to his left and warned Harrison that Adam Frazier was getting loose in the Pirates' dugout. Neither Mercer nor Harrison wanted any extra attention, even though it might have been their last home game as Pirates, but it came anyway.

With one out, manager Clint Hurdle sent in Frazier to replace Harrison at second base. That gave the home crowd a chance to stand and applaud Harrison -- and it provided Harrison with an opportunity to thank the fans in return. One out later, Kevin Newman emerged from the dugout to replace Mercer. And the two longtime teammates -- roommates even before they became close friends -- soaked in a moment they won't soon forget.

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CHICAGO -- Josh Harrison didn't see it coming, but Jordy Mercer did. In the eighth inning on Sunday afternoon at PNC Park, Mercer looked to his left and warned Harrison that Adam Frazier was getting loose in the Pirates' dugout. Neither Mercer nor Harrison wanted any extra attention, even though it might have been their last home game as Pirates, but it came anyway.

With one out, manager Clint Hurdle sent in Frazier to replace Harrison at second base. That gave the home crowd a chance to stand and applaud Harrison -- and it provided Harrison with an opportunity to thank the fans in return. One out later, Kevin Newman emerged from the dugout to replace Mercer. And the two longtime teammates -- roommates even before they became close friends -- soaked in a moment they won't soon forget.

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"We had some great years here, me and him. We've been through a lot," Harrison said on Monday afternoon at Wrigley Field. "He was my first roommate here, first friend in the organization. It was cool to see it through to the end with him."

This may be their final week with the Pirates. Harrison's contract includes a $10.5 million club option for next year, but the Bucs seem intent on moving forward with Frazier at second base. Mercer could return as a free agent, but this will be his first chance to test the market.

Neither has played on an everyday basis this month as the Pirates evaluate their younger options. That hasn't been such a bad thing for Harrison, who has worked through a sore hamstring throughout the second half.

"I've been able to maintain instead of putting more stress on it. I know I'll be good," Harrison said. "It's just a matter of having to rest."

Video: MIL@PIT: Mercer, Harrison on their time with the Bucs

But none of that was on Harrison's mind as he came off the field on Sunday, as he welcomed Mercer in the dugout or as they spoke on the field during a postgame interview.

"I don't think it's anything that I paid any attention to. You don't dwell on it," Harrison said. "You know it could possibly be it, but I'm not one that worries about moments like that. I like to enjoy them."

Mercer and Harrison both said their minds were flooded with memories on Sunday, specifically of their first meeting in 2009 with Class A Lynchburg. Harrison needed a place to live after being traded by the Cubs, so Mercer and Matt Hague offered their pull-out couch.

"Back was hurting and everything," Harrison said, smiling. "I just came from sleeping on a pull-out couch in Daytona, so that's nothing new to me."

Around the horn
• Center fielder Starling Marte (left calf tightness) was out of the starting lineup and unavailable on Monday night after exiting Sunday's game early.

Jordan Luplow made his first professional start in center at Wrigley Field. Hurdle said he preferred to put Luplow there rather than move Frazier off second base or shift Pablo Reyes from right field. Luplow has little experience in center, but the Pirates believe he possesses the necessary traits to man the position.

It could provide Luplow with another path to playing time next season. The club won't move left fielder Corey Dickerson or right fielder Gregory Polanco on Marte's days off, so it would work to the Bucs' advantage if their fourth outfielder can man all three spots.

"Anytime you have a guy that really can play all three, that's special, because a lot of teams over the winter have to go look for another center fielder to back up their center fielder," Hurdle said. "We've had those discussions before. To have one internally would be of value to us and to him."

• Reliever Edgar Santana (right forearm/elbow discomfort) was not with the team on Monday as he was being examined by doctors.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

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