Well, the dog days are upon us, and the Bucs are feeling the grind with a rash of tweaks, bruises and other assorted minor maladies.
In today's game, the bench was reduced to Neil Walker. The Kid is fairly useless at the moment, nursing a dislocated and swollen pinkie. But he was almost called into action when Jordy Mercer took a pitch off the wrist with Clint Barmes already used and done. Mercer gritted it out, and x-rays came back negative.
Starling Marte left the game with a tweaked right oblique he suffered running the bases. Travis Snider was removed to treat his sore hammy. Rob Biertempfel reported that Hot Rod Barajas had his hand wrapped for a second day.
The usual big league bench has five players; there are five guys listed above who are banged up beyond achy. Could they all be ready to go tomorrow? Well, probably, if guys running around at 75% is what you want during the stretch run.
Walker just needs time to heal; he may be ready during the SD series. Marte could have been yanked as a precautionary move, but obliques are potentially long-lasting injuries. Snider could use a couple of days off, and has so since Saturday. Mercer's availability will depend on the swelling/soreness factor tomorrow, and it looks like Barajas is soldiering through his aches.
The Bucs don't have the luxury of an off day until Thursday, and really don't have much option with the guys that are hurt. None appear to be 15 day DL candidates, so the Bucs are just going to have to scramble for the time being. (EDIT - one of them may be taking a trip to the DL. Kristy Robinson of Pirates Prospects reported that Jose Tabata is on his way to St. Louis. If her sources are right, we'll have a clearer picture tomorrow; perhaps Marte or Mercer are hurt more seriously than initially thought.)
That's just a short-term problem; the longer term issue is that if you have to use guys that are dinged, you run the risk of turning a minor pain into a lingering injury.
Maybe the answer is to make the 7-day DL, now limited to players with minor concussion symptoms, an added option for teams. But until then, get use to Yamiaco Navarro and Josh Harrison manning the guns for Pittsburgh until the gimpy guys recover.