Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hague's Stay Was a Short One

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Hague's Stay Was a Short One

Article excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO -- Matt Hague's major league debut was a brief one.

The Pirates optioned their best hitter of the spring to Class AAA Indianapolis on Saturday to make room for starting pitcher Charlie Morton on the 25-man roster. But it might not be long before Hague returns, according to general manager Neal Huntington.

"I would not think this is a long-term move," he said.

The Pirates opted to send Hague to Indianapolis instead of utility players Josh Harrison and Yamaico Navarro because the team is set to face a slew of right-handed starters and Hague's best chances for playing time are against lefties.

"This is going to be one of those moves where we're probably going to make it frequently during the course of the season with all three guys having options left, all three guys being young guys with development left in their game," Huntington said.

Morton started the season on the 15-day disabled list after offseason hip surgery and made one successful rehab start for Indianapolis last week. The Pirates used a four-man rotation through the first seven games of the season, allowing them to carry an extra bench player.

"This is where I want to be, but at the same time, I get to go try and get better," Hague said. "And that's all I can really control."

Manager Clint Hurdle said Hague did not do anything wrong in his brief stint in the majors, which made delivering the news a bit more difficult.

"I'm pulling for him, and he knows that," Hurdle said.

Hague hit .111 with a hit, an RBI and two strikeouts in nine at- bats. Entering Saturday, Harrison was hitting .143 and Navarro was hitless in three at-bats. Hague hit .400 in spring training, but Harrison and Navarro are much more versatile defensively. Both can play shortstop, second and third base, and Navarro has seen some work in the outfield.

Hague has played first and third, but Hurdle said he is only the team's fifth best defensive third baseman.

"I understand," Hague said. "I'm not oblivious to the situation."

He will play every day in Indianapolis and will split his time between third and first, probably on a series-to-series basis. With the Pirates, he would have only played sparingly. …

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