Neil Walker is back from the disabled list today, just in time for the Pirates' seven-game homestand against the Brewers and Astros. As a result, Jordy Mercer will be demoted back to Indianapolis to make room for Walker. John McDonald will remain on the roster.
This is what John McDonald has done in 34 plate appearances as a Pirate: two hits (one double), three walks, one HBP.
This is what Jordy Mercer has done in 32 plate appearances as a Pirate: eight hits (two doubles, three home runs), one walk.
The Pirates currently have both a second baseman and a third baseman that can't really hit left-handed pitching at all, plus they have a slick fielding shortstop that cannot hit at all on a team with a pitching staff that is third in the National League in strikeouts. Jordy Mercer is a useful player for them. John McDonald is a husk of a baseball player. His only real function is to allow Clint Hurdle to use a pinch-hitter or double switch for Clint Barmes late in games, but the end result of that is that occasionally, John McDonald comes to bat in a big situation. He's the most ridiculously niche luxury player I can think of on a team that can't really afford to waste roster spots.
Instead of Mercer playing once or twice a week against lefties and once or twice a week in place of Barmes, Brandon Inge will continue to play second and/or third against lefties and McDonald will start once a week instead of Barmes. The Pirates are substantially worse using their players like this. It's ridiculous. There's no excuse for it.