Aybar was hitting .233 in eight games with the Tigers after hitting .242 in 97 games with the Braves. He may also get starts at third, but 1,235 of his 1,293 games played in the majors came at short. Manager Brad Ausmus told reporters Thursday that starter Jose Iglesias' hamstring was still bothering him, so he may not be activated from the disabled list right away. Keep Aybar going while you can.
Escobar's fourth-inning shot was his third of the year, matching his total from each of the past two seasons. The shortstop's numbers won't pop open any eyes, but he has made some minor improvements since the All-Star break. Escobar is striking out less and walking more than he did in the first half of 2016, leading to a higher OBP since mid-July.
D'Arnaud has failed to capitalize on his limited opportunities this month, going 6-for-33 with one extra-base hit and nine strikeouts. He figures to continue seeing only sporadic starts around the infield, and his at-bats may be dialed back even further in September if the team opts to evaluate more promising young talent.
Cozart did report feeling good and not hindered while taking those grounders. "It just feels good to be back out there, moving around and not being hindered," Cozart said. "So far, so good. I said it earlier in the week, my main concern is moving out on defense. I don't anticipate hitting being a big deal since I felt so good out there defensively."
He had cooled off with two hits in his last 17 at-bats, so the afternoon performance was encouraging. Mercer has already played in his second-highest total of games (119), and the Pirates will continue to spot him with Sean Rodriguez at shortstop. Mercer has gone 1-for-15 against Thursday starter Wily Peralta.
Iglesias has not encountered any setbacks since beginning a rehab assignment Monday, and has also hit the ball well, so it appears that his stint on the disabled list is nearing its end. Iglesias figures to resume his role as the Tigers' primary shortstop when he is officially activated, but the team acquired Erick Aybar during Iglesias' absence, so he may not play nearly every day as he did previously.
Beckham began experiencing tightness in his hamstring Tuesday night and was subsequently held out of action Wednesday night, though he was said to be available as a pinch hitter. The 26-year-old did not ultimately enter the game, and he's again absent from the lineup Thursday, as Matt Duffy gets the not at shortstop. Continue to consider Beckham day-to-day until the Rays say otherwise.
Swanson will have Wednesday night off and give way to Chase d'Arnaud at shortstop. Since joining Atlanta on Aug. 17, Swanson has posted a .292/.308/.333 line over six games. He'll likely return to the lineup Thursday for Atlanta's series finale against Arizona.
Beckham is being held out of the lineup Wednesday after experiencing some hamstring tightness Tuesday, but the issue is apparently minor enough that manager Kevin Cash would feel comfortable turning to the 26-year-old if needed. Matt Duffy is getting the start at shortstop in his place Wednesday.
Saladino missed four games while dealing with a sore back, but the pain has apparently subsided enough that he'll be able to return to Wednesday's lineup. The 27-year-old will be back at second base and hit ninth against Philadelphia starter Jerad Eickhoff.