Posted April 03, 2012 on AP on Fox
Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Matt Hague sat in the visitors locker room at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday and sipped a cup of coffee. Even Hague had to appreciate the irony. The 26-year-old is hoping his promising spring will result in a roster spot when the clubs cut to 25 players on Wednesday. Yet even his eye-popping numbers may not keep him from being a victim of the numbers' game. The Pirates have committed to see if Garrett Jones will pan out at first. If he doesn't, Casey McGehee was brought in from Milwaukee as an insurance policy. That leaves very little wiggle room for Hague, whose seven home runs during spring training is tied for tops in the majors. ''I'm just trying not to think about all the decisions that have to be made,'' Hague said. ''It's been fun. I just came in here trying to accomplish some stuff and I have. But at the same time, it's spring training. I'm trying to keep the confidence and momentum going into the season.'' Even if it doesn't start in Pittsburgh. Regardless of where he's playing on the weekend, Hague knows the last six weeks have revived his career. The former Oklahoma State star has toiled in the minors for the last four seasons, needing 1,739 at-bats to smack 41 home runs. He only needed 52 to get to seven this spring. Do the math and that's 70 home runs over a full major league season. For a team in desperate need of some pop, it's a promising sign. It just might not be enough to keep Hague from starting the season in Triple-A Indianapolis. ''I'll be happy with whatever happens,'' Hague said. ''Wherever they want. As long as I get some at-bats, it doesn't matter.'' At least for now. General manager Neal Huntington said he and Clint Hurdle are still working on shaping the roster that will face the Phillies on Thursday. Hague is hardly the only player who has separated himself this spring. Third basemen Josh Harrison and Yamaico Navarro have both played solid in the fight to back up Pedro Alvarez. Figuring out who stays isn't necessarily a bad thing. ''That's the fun part of the job when guys go out and play very, very well,'' Huntington said. ''Our relievers haven't necessarily all gone out and just grabbed a hold of jobs and not let them go. Yet Harrison and Navarro certainly have. They've gone out and played very well. It's hard to see taking any of them off the club.'' Hague understands. He's also aware he needs to prove his power surge isn't an anomaly. The only place where he'll be able to get at-bats on a consistent basis is in the minors. Though Hague's career batting average is a solid .302, he's only slugging .452 - not exactly the kind of numbers you need out of a first baseman. He worked with minor league coach Dean Treanor on looking to drive the ball better during the winter and swinging for the fences. ''Before, I was just so complacent with getting hits,'' he said. ''The ball flies pretty well in spring training parks also, so I'm a little more comfortable taking more shots. That's what's been a big focus, just taking as many shots as I can.'' The logjam at first might not last forever. Hague knows the Pirates are building toward something. He wants to be a part of it. ''I think there's great focus going into spring training,'' he said. ''Clint has a message and everybody buys into it. But really, we're going about our business and trying to be as good as we can.'' --- AP Sports Writer Dan Gelston in Philadelphia contributed to this report.

Pirates option Daniel Moskos to AAA

LHP Daniel Moskos has been optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. — Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) April 3, 2012   Daniel Moskos put together a solid spring, but Tony Watson will be given the spot as the lone left-hander in the bullpen this year. Moskos had a 1.00 ERA over nine innings with nine strikeouts and five walks. After the move, the Pirates are left with 27 players on their...

His name is Andrew McCutchen

Being a Pirate fan is not easy. There are obvious reasons for this, with the primary one being that the Pirates are bad at baseball. They've been bad at baseball for just about as long as anyone can remember. Pirate fans that have suffered through 19 consecutive losing seasons have dealt with watching baseball games in a toilet bowl, the specter of the team moving, the inept...

Bedard hoping to kickstart career with Pirates

Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Erik Bedard isn't sure when he morphed from a promising prospect to one of the oldest guys in the clubhouse. Then again, the 33-year-old left-hander understands it's easy to feel like an elder statesmen on one of baseball's youngest teams. Bedard will get the call on Thursday when the Pirates open the season against the Philadelphia Phillies...

James McDonald and Charlie Morton are the Pirates' most important pitchers this year

Part five in a series of previews that I'm increasingly running out of time to finish since I have three more posts and 36 hours to write them in.This spring, Erik Bedard and AJ Burnett have gotten the brunt of the attention as it relates to the Pirates 2012 pitching staff. This is only fair; they pitched for the Red Sox and Yankees, respectively, last year, they make a lot of...

Phillies 7, Pirates 2

Finally, we’re done with spring training games! Some quick news and notes: The Pirates will hold a workout at PNC Park at 4 PM Wednesday, and it’s free and open to the public. Details are here.  Daniel Moskos was optioned to AAA, meaning Tony Watson will be the lone lefty out of the pen to start the year. The Pirates still need to make a few more cuts, and must do so by 5 PM...

GAMEDAY: Opening Day! Pirates vs. Phillies

Phillies (0-0) at Pirates (0-0) 1:35 PM EST–PNC Park, Pittsburgh Here is the Gameday TV: ROOT Sports Well, here we are. The long wait is finally over, and the Bucs are back at last. We’ve endlessly discussed and debated the possibilities, the outlook, the predictions, everything. There are plenty of reasons for optimism and for pessimism. But today we get to put all...

Chris Leroux goes to the 60-day DL to finalize the roster

With all of the speculating we did about the final roster move in the last couple of days, the Pirates managed to do something unexpected and place Chris Leroux on the 60-day DL with a "pectoral injury." That has the neat and tidy effect of both allowing the club to keep Jared Hughes (who's been much better than Leroux and who I think is super-awesome) and the full...

On-Deck Series: The Phils hang on to win a back and forth battle with the Pirates as they win, 4-3.

The Phils win a back and forth fight with their cross-state rivals the Pirates to win the first game in their two games on-deck series, 4-3. The Phils took a 1-0 lead in the first as, with a man on third, and with one man out, Jimmy Rollins hits a sacrifice fly, scoring Juan Pierre, who had earlier doubled, then went to third on Placido Polanco’s fly out. The Phils added to their...

Can the 'B Sharps' be good enough this year?

Part six in the hastily completed loosely affiliated compendium of posts you can refer to as the WHYGAVS Season Preview. Photoshop work by bwzimmerman.Neal Huntington has done good things for the Pirates on more than one front, but one aspect in which he's repeatedly struggled as GM is in adding established talent to the Pirates over the off-season via the free agent market....

The Lineup Card: 11 Bench Players Who Could Have a Big Impact by Baseball Prospectus

1. Casey McGehee The Pirates obtained Casey McGehee from Milwaukee in a January trade for reliever Jose Veras ostensibly to be the backup at first base and third base. However, considering the Pirates' options at first base and third base, McGehee could be in line for plenty of playing time. The left-handed hitting Garrett Jones will serve as the large end of a first...

McGehee embraces new start with Pirates

Pirates' corner infielder Casey McGehee got off to a slow start in Grapefruit League play, but is heating up at the plate as spring training draws to a close. McGehee is coming off a disappointing season in 2011, but he led the 2010 Fielder-Braun-Hart Brewers in RBI. McGehee told's George Von Benko that he hopes to be a big contributor in Pittsburgh.
Pirates News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.