The Pirates could have a new-look outfield when they open an interleague series Tuesday in Toronto.
Bucs left fielder Jose Tabata had to be wheeled off on a cart in the bottom of the first inning Sunday after suffering a serious left quadriceps injury while legging out a bunt single. Garrett Jones entered the game as a pinch-runner and took over in right field in the second inning as Matt Diaz shifted to left.
The Pirates are trying for a surprising three-game sweep of the formerly red-hot Red Sox.
If the injury is as bad as it looked and Tabata needs to be placed on the disabled list, prospect Alex Presley could become Pittsburgh’s new starting left fielder. A 25-year-old from Monroe, Louisiana, Presley has posted a sparkling .336/.389/.500 batting line with eight home runs, 36 RBI and 18 stolen bases in 75 games this season for Triple-A Indianapolis. He was pulled from the lineup at Triple-A on Sunday, soon after news of Tabata’s injury made its way to Indy.
The Pirates entered Sunday’s play with a 39-37 record, three games back in the National League Central.
During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.
We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:
And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:
The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.
Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.
Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.
Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.
Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.