The Pittsburgh Pirates are in need of some healthy players. Jose Tabata just
that guy. [UPDATE: Jordy Mercer is out on paternity leave, Tabata up]
The Pirates demoted the outfielder to Triple-A Indianapolis on July 3. He was having a miserable season despite playing in 256 games for the Pirates in his young career.
Regarding Tabata’s demotion, Hurdle said,
"“He’s not a lazy player. I think there’s just some confusion going on right now. You see balls drop in front of him. He wants to catch them. He doesn’t make a good first move and he backs off. It’s all about first movement, whether it be in the box, swinging the bat. There’s just some indecision. And I think sometimes we’ve just got too much going on upstairs.” Clint Hurdle"
From a sheer numbers standpoint, Tabata looks good at Triple-A. The outfielder initially sulked, according to Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington, but has played some good baseball according to Hurdle.
An interesting post from Nancy Zinni noted that Tabata is hitting for average, but hasn’t actually hit the ball all that well. It’s difficult to tell from just reading game recaps, but Zinni has been on the scene in Indianapolis forever and her opinion should be held in high regard.
Looking at Tabata’s numbers, it shows he has had some very solid stretches of baseball. During one such stretch, he batted .432 and posted a .500 OBP over ten consecutive games. His most recent stretch of games, doesn’t really impress, especially considering the valued opinion of someone on the scene.
Nevertheless, the Bucs are hurting and Kristy Robinson reports that Tabata is on his way to St. Louis, maybe he can start becoming the player we all thought he would be when the Pirates gave him a contract extension one year ago today.