Pirates Notebook: Tabata joining Lincoln tonight
WASHINGTON -- Today will mark the Pirates' turn to bring up the future.
Right after Washington's Stephen Strasburg set the baseball world ablaze with 14 strikeouts, Brad Lincoln, the Pirates' top pitching prospect, will be promoted from Class AAA Indianapolis take the mound for his major-league debut. And, in a surprise that materialized after the 5-2 loss Tuesday night, Jose Tabata, the top outfield prospect, will join him.
Neither move will be formally announced until today, but multiple sources confirmed the pending moves late Tuesday night.
To clear space for those two, reliever Jack Taschner was designated for assignment and first baseman Jeff Clement was optioned to Indianapolis.
Tabata, 21, had been batting .308 as Indianapolis' leadoff man, with three home runs, 19 RBIs, 25 steals and a .373 on-base percentage. He has played all three outfield positions, but mostly left of late, which would suggest he will play there upon joining the Pirates.
With Lincoln, Tabata and, just before them, Neil Walker in the fold, that leaves only the system's top prospect, Pedro Alvarez, still in Indianapolis. Alvarez is batting .278 with a team-best 11 home runs and 48 RBIs, but management does not see him as ready yet, and there is no apparent rush.
That would move Lastings Milledge to right, Garrett Jones to first base.
Clement had been struggling immensely, batting .189 with five home runs and nine RBIs, and that was lowlighted, perhaps, by his 0-for-5 showing Sunday at PNC Park in which he stranded four runners.
"Jeff needs to play," manager John Russell said in explaining that move. "He's worked really hard, but he needs to be getting at-bats to get right."
With Taschner, the Pirates have 10 days to trade, waive or release him, and management would prefer to have him clear waivers and stay in the system. He had a 6.05 ERA in 17 appearances and had pitched only once since May 17.
Russell did not comment on the other moves, including those pending.
The Pirates played two men short Tuesday, catcher Ryan Doumit out with concussion-like symptoms and infielder Bobby Crosby left behind in Pittsburgh with a stomach illness, and it might remain that way for the rest of this three-game series.
Doumit has a history of concussions, and those become cumulative, but Russell said tests showed this bout is "not serious." Doumit had his mask knocked off by a foul tip Sunday at PNC Park, and he experienced headaches and discomfort the next day and into Tuesday.
He pleaded with Russell and the coaching staff to let him play in Strasburg's debut.
"He really wanted to play, and he was very persuasive," Russell said. "But we decided it was best for Ryan if he took a couple days. Hopefully, he'll be able to bounce right back."
Crosby's ailment is the same one that put down outfielder Ryan Church for the weekend, with Russell describing it as "a little worse." There is a chance he could rejoin the team today, but that was uncertain.
• Charlie Morton, making his first appearance on the mound since May 27, was hit hard with Class AAA Indianapolis Tuesday in allowing five runs -- two earned -- on six hits and two walks in 3 2/3 innings. He threw 71 pitches, 45 for strikes.
• Several of the Pirates' athletic trainers and equipment staff were given a tour of the Capitol, with a little pull from starter Ross Ohlendorf, who interned at the Department of Agriculture in the offseason.
• The Pirates announced they are offering $19.60 seats -- left and right field, and outfield boxes -- to the 1960 celebration weekend planned for June 18-20.
• Team president Frank Coonelly attended the game.
First Published June 9, 2010 12:00 am