May 18, 2012, 8:24 PM EDT
Jose Tabata is not in the Pirates’ starting lineup tonight against the Tigers. But it’s not your routine day of rest. According to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the young outfielder was benched for not hustling last night against the Nationals.
Tabata botched a pair of plays in left field, but Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was most concerned with his failure to bust it down the line on a tapper in front of the plate which resulted in an inning-ending double play in the top of the ninth.
“We’ve seen it happen a couple of times,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “They understand here that when that happens, there’s something else that’s going to happen: You’re going to sit with me and watch.”
“He understands there was a lesson to be learned,” Hurdle said. “He had a rough night all over the board. It happens sometimes to young players. Sometimes they need (to regain) focus. He understands the importance he carries at the top of the lineup, the intensity he’s got to play with.”
Hurdle had a closed-door chat with Tabata prior to tonight’s game. Assuming the message was received, he should be back in there tomorrow.
Like many of the Pirates’ hitters, Tabata is off to a slow start this season. The 23-year-old outfielder is hitting .235/.284/.356 with two homers, six RBI, five stolen bases and a .640 OPS through 140 plate appearances. He agreed to an extension last August which will keep him with the club through 2016 and includes options through 2019, so the Pirates are counting on him to be a major part of their future.
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