The Pittsburgh Pirates demoted Jose Tabata to Triple-A in early July in order to reignite his game and to get him back on track. The organization got to a point during the season that they had enough of Tabata’s miscues in the field and struggles at the plate that they decided to send him to Indianapolis to get consistent reps, at-bats and games played.
Tabata, who back in 2010 hit for a .299 clip in his first season in Pittsburgh, had several sit down talks with Manager Clint Hurdle throughout the season due to his struggles at the plate — hitting for just a .230 average — and not playing 100 percent in the field.
And it wasn’t for a lack of effort from Tabata. The biggest issue for Tabata has been confusion, Hurdle said. There was just too much indecision going on, whether it be not getting a good move to the ball, backing off and allowing the ball to drop in, in the outfield, or indecision while in the box, and squaring up the bat.
“I think sometimes we get too much stuff going on upstairs,” Hurdle said. “When there is too much noise, too much clutter mentally, it can confuse a player.”
Hurdle said recently that he talks to Triple-A Manager Dean Treanor every day or so to get reports on how Tabata is progressing. But since the demotion, the bat hasn’t sparked for the outfielder and General Manager Neal Huntington said on Sunday that he’s been a struggle since reporting.
“I think he expected to go down there and swing the bat better than he has,” Huntington said. “He’s disappointed to be down there. He doesn’t want to be down there. Triple-A is a place that nobody wants to be if you’re a young player. You want to be in the big leagues. It’s a tough place to play. Dean does a tremendous job of keeping these guys motivated.”
Since joining Indianapolis, the outfielder has hit for a .273/.324/.318 line over 66 at-bats. Tabata started off struggling at the plate putting up a .244/.295/.268 line over his first 10 games, and has since hit .270 over his last 10.
“Jose is going through some growing pains,” Huntington said. “He’s a 23-year-old that expected to be a big part of this winning major league team — and he hasn’t been. He wants to get back here and we’re going through some frustrations from his end right now about how he’s playing.”
Tabata has a past with similar issues before being traded to Pittsburgh. He was a top prospect in the New York Yankees organization, but became available in the Xavier Nady trade in 2008 due to his struggles at the plate in Double-A that season, and some questions about his work ethic. Huntington said they are working hard with him, and believe that he could rejoin Pittsburgh again before the season is over.
“We’re working hard to getting him back on the right track,” Huntington said. “He can and should help us at some point this season, but he’s got to turn the corner.”