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Hague hits in Pirate loss

March 24, 2012
The Altoona Mirror

BRADENTON, FLA. - Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland saw that Doug Fister's pitches were high in the zone. He knew something was wrong.

Fister left his start in the fifth inning of Detroit's 7-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday because of soreness in his right middle finger.

"He was getting the ball up more than normal," said Detroit manager about what tipped him off that something was wrong with Fister. "I learned a long time ago that there is no such thing as a minor injury."

Fister was scheduled to throw 75 pitches but was lifted after striking out four in 4 1/3 innings. He is day to day.

Up until that point, Fister's only blemish came when Pittsburgh's Matt Hague extended his torrid spring by cracking a two-run home run in the second. Hague entered with a .448 batting average.

Clete Thomas hit a solo homer off Pittsburgh closer Joel Hanrahan in the top of the fifth.

Audy Ciriaco and Omir Santos had RBI singles in the ninth for the Tigers of Daniel McCutchen, who was tagged for six earned runs in two innings.

Pirates starter Charlie Morton threw four scoreless innings in his third spring start.

He allowed two hits, while striking out two. Morton was pleased with his outing.

"I think I actually gave up more hard-hit balls this game than I did the last one, but I feel like I threw the ball pretty well," Morton said.

Morton, who is recovering from offseason hip surgery, said he estimates he's a game behind Pittsburgh's other starters.

"I'm hoping I can pick that up at the end of spring training, and get my pitch count up," said Morton, who threw 55 pitches in four innings.

Morton allowed the fewest number of home runs by major league pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched last season.

On Friday, Morton said he liked the action he had on his two-seam fastball.

"I'm starting to figure out where my arm needs to be," he said. "My finish, my intent with my arm and all those things. And trusting it again, and all that stuff."

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