Hague gets DH nod in opener with O's

Hague gets DH nod in opener with O's

Hague gets DH nod in opener with O's
BALTIMORE -- Faced with the unusual -- and in his opinion disadvantageous -- situation of having to choose a designated hitter, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle decided on Matt Hague.

Hague, who has played 16 games at first base this season, batted fifth against Baltimore left-hander Wei-Yin Chen on Tuesday.

"We knew we were going to face left-handed pitching coming in tonight," Hurdle said. "The combination of looking to put your best defensive team on the field, a bat that can maybe not fall into the platoon situation for this evening, Matt seemed to jump out to me."

Hague is 4-for-16 against lefties this season compared to 7-for-37 against righties.

General manager Neal Huntington left the door open to the Pirates calling up Jeff Clement -- who is hitting .301 for Triple-A Indianapolis -- to serve as the designated hitter.

Instead, Hurdle chose to keep it in-house, even though his club doesn't have the same advantages most American League teams do.

"More often than not, you get the short end of the stick in the National League when you go to an American League city," Hurdle said. "We're not built for a DH. These American League clubs go out in the winter and they buy DHs, or they grow their own DHs. It's a big bat that usually hits in the middle of the lineup."

During a three-game series in Detroit in mid-May, Hurdle gave Josh Harrison, Neil Walker and Pedro Alvarez one turn each in the designated-hitter role.

"More often than not, in my experiences, it's a bench player in the National League that gets an opportunity to get three or four at-bats or you give a regular a day off of his feet and you hit him," Hurdle said. "It's a little different for us, as well, but that's the way it is. I kind of like the way we're going at it here, whether it's right-handed or left-handed pitching, I think we've got some options to put in that position."