Pirates Notebook: Long deal for Tabata is close

Talks with Walker are under way, too


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The Pirates are close to signing outfielder Jose Tabata to a long-term deal and are in contract discussions with second baseman Neil Walker, according to a source with knowledge of the negotiations.

While a new deal for Tabata could come within the next several days, an extension with Walker "is not imminent," according to the source.

Before Friday, Tabata, 23, was hitting .285 since first appearing in the major leagues in 2010. He missed more than 40 games this season after an injury to his left quad.

He joined the Pirates organization as a minor leaguer in 2008 by trade from the New York Yankees.

Tabata's new deal is expected to cover six years with team options that could delay his free agency further.

Walker has hit .280 with 135 RBIs since making his major league debut as a September call-up in 2009. Walker was a first-round pick in 2004 and has quickly become one of their most visible leaders.

Maholm to DL

The Pirates placed starting pitcher Paul Maholm on the 15-day disabled list -- retroactive to Thursday -- with a shoulder strain.

It marks the first time Maholm has been placed on the DL.

The team will announce a corresponding roster move before the game Saturday.

So where's McKenry?

Mike McKenry has not started since Sunday, when a would-be strike three at a crucial point in a game against Milwaukee slipped past him. But McKenry is not moping around the Pirates clubhouse. He is as energetic and enthusiastic as ever.

"It's all a waiting game," he said. "You never know when you're going to get that opportunity."

McKenry was acquired in June from the Boston Red Sox after Ryan Doumit and Chris Snyder went on the disabled list. Since Doumit's return from the disabled list Aug. 3, McKenry has played less and less. But his recent stretch is the longest he has gone this season without getting on the field.

But he appreciates the chance to work closely with Doumit and Snyder -- who is with the team while on the disabled list.

"I just try to keep my mouth shut most of the time and my ears and eyes open," he said.

As for the miscue in Milwaukee, he has not let it haunt him.

"When I take a shower after the game, I wash it all away," he said. "There's nothing you can do about it after that."

Presley not quite ready

Outfielder Alex Presley -- on the disabled list with an injury to the webbing near his left thumb -- is a couple steps away from returning to the active roster.

"He is still working through some issues of trust with that top hand -- the thumb -- getting it in play, getting the barrel out in front, letting the ball travel, get deep," manager Clint Hurdle said.

"He's got to take at least another step or two along those lines before we'd be ready to recall him here. ... Subconsciously, those can hinder you a little bit."

Before Friday, Presley was hitting .200 in the first seven games of his rehab assignment with Class AAA Indianapolis.



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