PITTSBURGH -- Whenever the Pirates have an unsatisfying offensive game, fans begin to clamor anew for the return of Matt Hague, the powerful corner infielder who smoked his way through the Grapefruit League.
But there is a very good reason Hague remains in Indianapolis. Besides, that is, his very modest Triple-A production of a .272 average without a home run in 20 games. The Bucs want him comfortable, not to mention competent, at third base before considering a recall. Playing primarily at the hot corner for the Indians, Hague has four errors in 18 games at third.
"It's tough to carry a right-handed first-base bat on the bench," said general manager Neal Huntington. "We're trying to add another way for Matt to impact the club. [Playing third] is an important step for him. He's still a work in progress there. We know he can swing the bat; we're trying to find another way for him to be used at the Major League level."