PITTSBURGH -- Until Tuesday night, Jared Hughes wasn't even aware of the new rule permitting teams to add a 26th player for doubleheaders. But when the right-hander took the call in Indianapolis, he was on his way to PNC Park. And now, the 26-year-old rookie right-hander is on his way to the Hall of Fame. Well, the dugout lineup card which reflects his Game 1 appearance is on the way to Cooperstown.
Hughes made history by appearing as the first 26th man when he blanked the Rockies in the ninth inning of the Bucs' 2-1 loss in the opener of Wednesday's doubleheader. Between games, a Hall representative called the Pirates, asking for the lineup card to put on display. "Very cool," a beaming Hughes said, on his way back to Indianapolis, per 26th-man exception rules. The Rockies also added a 26th player for Wednesday's twin bill, right-hander Zach Putnam, but he did not take the mound until the nightcap. Hughes began the season with the Bucs and was optioned to Triple-A on Saturday, when his spot on the roster was needed as A.J. Burnett was jumped into the rotation while Kevin Correia dealt with discomfort on his left side. The Pirates also considered adding left-hander Daniel Moskos, for more matchup possibilities, but ultimately concluded that Hughes' versatility would be more valuable. "We felt very good and very comfortable bringing him back," manager Clint Hurdle said. "He left here pitching well. He did nothing to earn a demotion, other than the stable got full." With Wednesday's cameo, Hughes lowered his ERA to 1.86 for six appearances with the Bucs.