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.
Giants’ right-hander Mark Melancon is considering surgery for an undisclosed injury, the pitcher told reporters prior to Friday’s game against the Phillies. Melancon did not divulge the exact location of the injury, but revealed that it had been plaguing him off and on since the 2012 season and was a separate issue from the right pronator strain that kept him sidelined through much of July and August. Giants’ head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner called the injury day-to-day and has not revealed a timetable for the right-hander’s return, should surgery become necessary.
Melancon, 32, has struggled to replicate the sparkling pitching line he produced with the Pirates and Nationals in 2016. He’s toting a 3.80 ERA through 25 appearances with San Francisco, flanked by a 1.1 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 23 2/3 innings. His season has been significantly shortened after multiple trips to the disabled list for a right forearm strain, and while he looked to be in line to resume his closing duties this week, the Giants will likely play it safe with the veteran righty to keep him from compromising his health in 2018.
Although the injury doesn’t appear to be severe in nature, it’s clearly intensified over the last few months. Per MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Melancon said he’s “had discomfort every day this season,” though he hopes to continue pitching through the remainder of 2017. The Giants aren’t on the verge of contending by any stretch of the imagination, but a solid end to the 2017 season could help Melancon make some headway as he looks to reclaim his status as the team’s closer next spring.
What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Just ask Javier Baez, who tracked down a sizzling 106-MPH ground ball from Jose Bautista on Friday afternoon. The defensive gem helped preserve the Cubs’ three-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, paving the way for Wade Davis‘ 25th save of the season.
Baez also impressed at the plate, collecting an RBI single in the second inning before getting tagged out at home by Miguel Montero on a convoluted 9-6-3-6-2 putout. He returned in the eighth inning to pester Tim Mayza and cleared the left field hedge with a 409-foot, two-run blast for his 20th home run of the year. With the win, the Cubs improved to 64-57 and now hold a scant 1.5-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central.