Free Matt Hague?

Raise it? Not quite. The Bucs and Rays tied today.
Raise it? Not quite. The Bucs and Rays tied today.

BRADENTON, Fla. — Matt Hague isn’t trying to hit homers, but he’s doing that anyway. His two-run shot in today’s 3-3 tie against the Rays was his fifth home run of the spring, tops on the team. “The moment I try to do too much is when I find myself in trouble,” Hague said. “I’m trying to keep my focus as narrow as I can, get a good pitch and let my hands work. When I try to do too much, my hands don’t get involved. I’ve lowered my hands to a better hitting spot, really trying to get them going so I can drive it.”

Hague is batting .383 this spring and has 13 hits in his past 31 at-bats. He leads the team with five homers. “They told me at the beginning that I had a chance to make the club,” Hague said. “I’ve given them a taste of what I can do. The roster hasn’t been set yet. There are two games left (in Florida). I’m just trying to finish up strong and see what happens.”

»»» Josh Harrison walked as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning, which kept his 0-for-13 skid intact. Despite the slump, Harrison is batting .359 this spring.

»»» Early in camp, manager Clint Hurdle said he’d prefer to have all the roster decisions out of the way sooner than later. But the plan now is to decide the roster makeup — seven or eight relievers, five or six bench guys — and make the final cuts during the two-day exhibition series in Philadelphia next week. “One of the greatest abilities we have in the United States of America is to change our mind,” Hurdle said. “I changed my mind.”

»»» Reliever Tim Alderson was called up from minor league camp and made a rare Grapefruit League appearance today. He worked two scoreless innings and allowed two hits. “I was really impressed,” Hurdle said. “Good mound presence, worked through a situation with a runner on base. All the things we threw at him, he handled very well. A good outing.” In related news, the Giants today put Freddy Sanchez on the disabled list due to a potentially career-threatening shoulder injury.

»»» Farewell, Ryota Igarashi. A day after sending the righty to minor league camp, the Pirates traded him to the Blue Jays in exchange for a PTBNL or cash.

»»» A website called claims to have run 50,000 computer simulations of the 2012 MLB season. According to the Predictalator (their name for it, not mine), the Rangers won the World Series in 16.4 percent of the sims. The Phillies were next-highest at 15.8 percent. The Pirates won the NL Central 1 percent of the time, claimed a NL wild card 1 percent of the time and won zero league championships or World Series titles.