First Pitch: Matt Hague Could Upgrade Two Spots

The last time Matt Hague was up, he didn’t get much playing time. The club was focused on the platoon between Garrett Jones and Casey McGehee at first base, limiting the opportunities for the first baseman. This time, it seems that he will get a shot to prove himself in the majors, with Jones and McGehee moving to the bench on a more frequent basis.

Hague didn’t have the best numbers in Triple-A this year. He struggled all around in April. In May he hit for average and got on base, but didn’t hit for power. I’ve pointed out in the past how Hague appears to be a streaky hitter. We saw that in Spring Training. We saw that for six weeks last summer in June and the first two weeks in July.

If Hague can go on a hot streak, he could upgrade the first base position over what the Pirates were getting from the Jones/McGehee platoon. That platoon started strong, but really started to struggle over the last month.

Hague also upgrades a second spot. His promotion to the majors meant the end of Nate McLouth off the bench. It also pushed Garrett Jones to the bench, which is an upgrade over McLouth.

These two moves won’t solve the offensive problems. Jones upgrades over McLouth, but that impact is minimal. Hague needs to go on one of his hot streaks to provide an impact, and that’s no guarantee. Still, the alternative wasn’t working, so it’s good to see the Pirates moving in a different direction.

Links and Notes

**The Pirates beat the Cubs 1-0. Kristy Robinson’s notebook looks at the pitching staff continuing to shine.

**Prospect Watch: Three hits for Alex Presley, and Gregory Polanco hits his eighth homer of the year.

**Live game reports: Nancy Zinni in Indianapolis, and Wilbur Miller covering Altoona.

**The Pirates recalled Matt Hague today and designated Nate McLouth for assignment. Hague received immediate playing time.

**The Pitch F/X preview for the Cubs.

**There’s no ego in the Pirates’ bullpen.

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