Tabata's season cut short by broken bone in hand

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LOS ANGELES -- Outfielder Jose Tabata will not play the rest of the season to allow a broken bone in his left hand to heal.

"I'm frustrated a little bit," Tabata said. "But at the same time, it's better for me. I want to be comfortable for next year."

Tabata had an "avulsion fracture" on his left hand Aug. 24 in batting practice. An avulsion fracture occurs when a ligament or a tendon pulls a small part of a bone away from the rest, according to the Mayo Clinic.

He played off and on until last week, when the injury was diagnosed. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said Friday he would not play the rest of the season.

"We are not going to get him back in games," Hurdle said. "We decided at this time that the risk vs. reward isn't worth it."

Tabata will continue an accelerated workout routine that includes everything but swinging a bat. The goal is have him rest and be healthy to "start swinging completely pain-free, completely healed," Hurdle said.

"We want to make sure we keep our hands on as much as possible this winter to get him in the best position we can to be the best productive player he can be next year. ... And the healthiest."

Promotions

The Pirates announced six promotions within their baseball operations department, including promoting Greg Smith, director of scouting, and Kyle Stark, director of player development, to assistant general managers.

"I'm not a big title guy," general manager Neal Huntington said. "So quite honestly, the title doesn't mean a lot to me. It's more the responsibility and the impact they can have on the organization. They're both very talented, hard-working, intelligent, quality people that are ready for some additional challenges and are ready to help us move forward."

Smith, 45, had been director of scouting since 2007 and has led the team's draft efforts in each of those seasons. Stark, 33, has overseen player development at all levels of the Pirates system since '07.

Those moves created openings throughout the organization.

Tyrone Brooks, former director of baseball operations, is the new director of player personnel, and Joe DelliCarri, former assistant scouting director, is now the director of amateur scouting. He will run future Pirates drafts.

A former area scout, Larry Broadway will be the club's new director of minor league operations, and Kevan Graves, former assistant director of baseball operations, is the new director of baseball operations.

The club also announced they retained Latin scouting director Rene Gayo and Doug Strange as special assistant to the GM.

"We've talked a lot about consistency and cohesiveness as we've come into the organization," Huntington said. "We feel like these moves ... will make us better."

Huntington said his contract extension, announced Sunday, led to these promotions.

The Thinker

Ross Ohlendorf's greatest strength can often be his greatest weakness.

Recently voted as baseball's smartest player by his peers, according to Sports Illustrated, Ohlendorf, a Princeton graduate, admits he often thinks too much when he's on the mound.

"I definitely do, sometimes," he said.

He spoke often after his seven-inning, two-run, four-hit outing Thursday about not thinking too much on the mound. He worked with pitching coach Ray Searage on his delivery -- which includes a longer stride and a less rigid posture -- heading into the game, a 6-2 victory by the Pirates.

"It's helped me get in a rhythm and not think about my mechanics," Ohlendorf said.

Searage said the adjustments made an immediate improvement in Ohlendorf's delivery during his weekly bullpen sessions. And the less Ohlendorf thinks on the mound, the better.

"I love him, but he overanalyzes too much stuff," Searage said. "Way too much. His intellect can hurt him more than it can help him."


Michael Sanserino: msanserino@post-gazette.com , 412-263-1722 and Twitter @msanserino.


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