Outfielder Jose Tabata was removed from the Pirates 10-4 win on Sunday afternoon at PNC Park after six innings due to cramping in his left leg. Prior to the game, skipper Clint Hurdle said that he wasn’t sure whether the injury was a short-term or long -term injury for the outfielder.
After going through activation, stretching and just moving around on the field with the training staff watching closely nearby, he was cleared for game action this afternoon. Tabata will bat leadoff for the Bucs as they face the Reds at 1:35 PM.
- Right-hander James McDonald has had a breakout season in 2012. He’s posted a 1.57 ERA in his first five home starts this season and just a 2.51 ERA over his nine starts this year. Beginning with his eight punchout performance on April 25, McDonald shares the lead in strikeouts (52) with Washington’s Gio Gonzalez. Those 52 whiffs have came over 41.2 innings, which included a career-high 11 on May 17. He will face a tough Cincinnati Reds team, who are currently in first place in the NL Central. The Pirates are four games back.
“This is not the same James McDonald they saw last year,” Hurdle said. “[Joey] Votto is as good as a hitter in the league. And [Jay] Bruce is dangerous at anytime. James will do the same sequence of events that he had go through the left-handed hitters he’s faced, the middle of the lineup guys. Fastball command will be No.1. The ability to throw his secondary pitches behind in counts, No. 2. And to be aggressive in the zone.”
- Andrew McCutchen ranks second among NL players in slugging percentage (.760), fourth in on-base (.455), fourth in batting average (.387) and tied for third in homers (8) this month.
- Earlier this morning the Pirates placed righty Juan Cruz on the restricted list and selected lefty Doug Slaten from Triple-A Indianapolis. Cruz will return home to the Dominican to attend some personal business. Slaten has posted a 0.36 ERA over 25.1 innings with Triple-A. Hurdle said Cruz is expected back by the Milwaukee series (June 1-3). Slaten, Hurdle said, can fill several different roles with the club (left-on-left, inning-plus), and having a second lefty could be very beneficial against the heart of the Reds order.
- Pirates lineup: Tabata 7 Walker 4 McCutchen 8 Alvarez 5 Jones 9 Hague 3 Barajas 2 Barmes 6 McDonald 1