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Pirates notebook: Inge called up, Presley sent to Indianapolis

| Tuesday, April 23, 2013, 4:39 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates infielder Brandon Inge watches a workout during 2013 spring training at Pirate City in Bradenton, Fla.

PHILADELPHIA — The Pirates recalled veteran infielder Brandon Inge from his rehab assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis on Tuesday and inserted him into the starting lineup at third base to face Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels.

Manager Clint Hurdle hopes Inge will be able to make the greatest impact against lefties and by adding power off the bench.

“We won't force anything, but I'm going to find some opportunities for him,” Hurdle said of Inge, a career .261 hitter against left-handers. “That's what we talked about all winter. Whether it's spelling Pedro (Alvarez) a day, whether it's spelling (Neil) Walker a day, whether it's going in the outfield, first base, whatever you might need within the game, I'm very comfortable using him in a lot of different ways.”

Entering Tuesday's game, the Pirates were batting .169 with two home runs against left-handed pitchers, including just .150 against left-handed starters. Alvarez (.111) has just two hits off lefties. Walker was batting .118 from the right side against lefties.

“That was one of the soft spots for us at times last year, and it's already jumped out this year,” Hurdle said. “We have a handful of guys that haven't gotten out of the blocks the way we've wanted, and with (Inge's) versatility, he can give any one of those guys a blow as far as matching up.”

Inge, who was on the disabled list with a broken right scapula, went 9 for 60 (.150) with two doubles, two home runs, six RBI and four runs scored in 18 games with Indianapolis.

“I actually was putting some pretty good wood on the ball, and that's all I really cared about doing,” said Inge, who spent the first part of spring training rehabbing from season-ending shoulder surgery.

To make room for him on the 25-man roster, the Pirates optioned outfielder Alex Presley to Indianapolis.

Morton impresses

Right-hander Charlie Morton pitched four scoreless innings in his first rehab start with Double-A Altoona and gave up one hit, walked two and struck out three. Morton threw 69 pitches, 40 for strikes.

Morton is returning from Tommy John surgery June 14, 2012.

Hughes, Mazzaro unavailable

Neither Jared Hughes nor Vin Mazzaro were available out of the Pirates' bullpen Tuesday.

Mazzaro pitched two innings on Monday to bring his total to four scoreless innings in three appearances since being promoted from Triple-A on April 16.

“We've liked what we've seen,” Hurdle said of Mazzaro. “The fastball's been firm with late sink. The slider's been a good pitch. He's come in, thrown strikes and been very aggressive within the zone. It's only a short sample size, but left-handers haven't barreled him up yet. He's made some good pitches to left-handers, which is nice to have.”

Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at kprice@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KarenPrice_Trib.

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