Hague earns starting first baseman slot

Hague earns starting first baseman slot

MILWAUKEE -- Matt Hague has hit safely in each of his eight games since being recalled from Indianapolis. But that isn't why his name keeps showing up in the Pirates' starting lineup.

Hague is in there because he now is the Bucs' regular everyday first baseman, period. The bygone days of a three-way platoon also including Casey McGehee and Garrett Jones are just that -- gone.

In the subtlest of ways, Clint Hurdle confirmed Hague's status. The manager was asked Sunday morning about the challenge of coming up with lineups when some bench players are outperforming regulars.

Hurdle began talking about needing to find spots for players such as Josh Harrison and McGehee, then said, "Hague ... he is in the lineup." The manner in which he said it plainly indicated the reference wasn't specific to a lineup.

The Hit Collector -- the nickname hung on Hague by Hurdle in Spring Training -- has lived up to the billing. The Pirates would also like to see the 6-foot-3, 225-pounder start to live up to his bulk. Hague's hits include only two for extra bases, both doubles. He led the club with seven homers in Spring Training.