Hague back in the bigs with Marte on bereavement

Hague back in the bigs with Marte on bereavement

ST. LOUIS -- There was a new old face on the Pirates' bench on Wednesday night. Matt Hague was back in a Bucs uniform for the first time in two years, recalled from Indianapolis as a temporary replacement for Starling Marte.

Marte went on bereavement leave and returned to the Dominican Republic following the death of his mother-in-law. Players on the bereavement list must miss a minimum of three games and can miss a maximum of seven, so a return prior to the All-Star break is uncertain.

Jose Tabata might have been higher in the Indianapolis pecking order than Hague, who last appeared for the Pirates on July 14, 2012, but Tabata hasn't played since July 3 after twice being hit by pitches on his left forearm.

So Hague is back in The Show. The Hit Collector leads the International League in RBIs, with 59, which helped land him on the Triple-A All-Star team.

Hague, the Bucs' primary first baseman during the first week of the 2012 season, has been a dedicated Minor League survivor. He has logged 775 Minor League games, most of them (454) at the Triple-A level.

"He's shown up and played and hit," manager Clint Hurdle said of the 28-year-old Hague, "and driven in runs. He's put up quality at-bats for two years [since the Bucs last optioned him], and went down there with a professional game ethic. He's been dependable."

Because Hague was not on the 40-man roster, his contract had to be selected from Indianapolis. To make room for him on the roster, pitcher Duke Welker was designated for assignment.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.