Now that he’s back from a two-month stint on the disabled list Jose Tabata told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review that his “dream” is to play right field at PNC Park while wearing Roberto Clemente’s retired No. 21 for one game.
No player has worn that number for the Pirates since the Hall of Famer’s death in 1973, but Tabata idolized Clemente as a kid and the right field wall at PNC Park is 21 feet high and called “Clemente Wall.”
Tabata has been the Pirates’ everyday left fielder since being called up last season, but made his first career start in right field yesterday and indicated that he hopes to ask the Clemente family for permission to wear No. 21 at some point.
Free agent first baseman Edwin Espinal has signed a minor league deal with the Tigers, the infielder announced Saturday. The move has yet to be confirmed by the team.
Espinal, 23, capped a seven-year run with the Pirates’ minor league affiliates in 2017. He split his season between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, batting a cumulative .294/.327/.447 with 15 home runs and 31 doubles in 532 plate appearances. While he’s raked at nearly every level so far, he also profiles well on defense, and rounded off his 2017 performance with a perfect fielding percentage, 208 putouts and a Gold Glove award.
Espinal is untested at the major league level and it’s not yet clear if he’ll make the jump in 2018. He showed some positional versatility during his time in the minors, however, and could take reps at third base or DH if necessary. The Tigers are reportedly on the lookout for pitching depth and left-handed bats — two bills the right-handed Espinal doesn’t fit — and presumably have a lot of moves left to make this winter.