Originally written on Pirates Prospects  |  Last updated 10/23/14
Mlb-astros-pirates
Jose Tabata will be given the chance to play right field every day. (Photo Credit: David Hague) Jose Tabata is starting in right field Wednesday night as the Pirates take on the Philadelphia Phillies. The outfielder returned to the 25-man roster today after his nine-game rehabilitation (oblique) with Triple-A Indianapolis. “It’s a little tight sometimes, especially when I wake up in the morning,” Tabata said. “After that, I feel great… I’m here today. Thank you, God.” His first matchup is against left-hander John Lannan in place of Travis Snider. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said Tabata has the chance to take away any worries about the team’s production in right field. “He could definitely be that guy,” Hurdle said. “We’re gonna give him every opportunity to play, to get out there. He was working to a very good spot before the injury.” Indeed, Tabata hit .340 with a .920 OPS over a month of games before his injury, and his season numbers in a small sample (.272/.337/.407) resembled the OPS he posted in his successful rookie year (.299/.346/.400). “His play defensively, his running the bases, his swings of the bat were as good as I’ve ever seen him,” Hurdle said, adding that the idea of starting Gaby Sanchez as first base and Garrett Jones in right field “could still play.” To Rehab or Not To Rehab? Injured starter A.J. Burnett (right calf strain) may not make any rehab starts before he returns to the active roster. He threw a simulated game “without incident” Tuesday. A.J. Burnett hopes to avoid a rehab assignment. "I don't know why I'd need to. I didn't hurt my arm." #Pirates — Michael Sanserino (@msanserino) July 3, 2013 Hurdle would not commit either way to Burnett pitching a game or two in the minor leagues, but the decision may depend on how he pitches in Thursday’s bullpen session. “I haven’t given in any other thought than taking it one day at a time,” Hurdle said. “He has his own personal feelings, if he can continue to do the work he thinks he needs to do.” Drew Sutton and Surprises Today is the one-year anniversary of the Drew Sutton Game, the Pirates’ comeback victory to take first-place in the NL Central that was capped by Sutton’s walkoff home run. It was his only Pittsburgh homer and his most recent in the Major Leagues, as the utility man now plays for Triple-A Pawtucket. Winning teams need contributions from everyone, even a Sutton. “Everybody has basically won a game for us,” Hurdle said. “Everybody out there in that clubhouse, and some guys that aren’t, have done something of significance.” Teammates have been impressed by Marte’s leadoff skills and fielding ability. (Photo credit: David Hague) Jeff Locke (Wednesday’s starter) and Starling Marte were the players’ runaway choices for biggest surprises of the Pirates’ first half in a poll conducted by Santelli Anonymous Polling ™. Hurdle singled out those two, along with Russell Martin and Jeanmar Gomez, as players who have surpassed expectations. “I love the way that Marte has adapted to the leadoff spot and the way he’s played left field,” Hurdle said. ”I love the way that Jeff Locke has melded into the rotation at this particular point in time. The last man standing.” J-Mac Gets Positive News Locke will look to continue his stellar first half (3rd in National League ERA) with his second-half debut. You’ll remember around this point last year, James McDonald held the NL’s 3rd best ERA before a poor second half, posting a 7.52 ERA, 1.79 WHIP, 51 strikeouts and 38 walks. James McDonald will not pitch again until at least late July, but his shoulder has no structural damage. The 28-year-old will continue his shoulder rehabilitation after two or three weeks of rest. The right-hander saw Texas Rangers team physician Dr. Keith Meister, who said McDonald’s shoulder had inflammation and some tendinitis but looked good structurally. “I rushed a little bit back,” McDonald said. “It’s good news to hear [Meister's diagnosis]. It’s better than hearing him saying, ‘Aw, this is bad.’ It sucks because you want to get on the field. I’m looking every day, checking to see what they’re doing. It’s exciting. I want to contribute.” McDonald made six rehab starts in the minor leagues before the most recent setback took him off the mound. His words for Locke as the left-hander begins his second half in a similar situation as McDonald’s 2012? “Do what you do, keep being you,” McDonald said. “Don’t put too much on your shoulders. You’ve got other guys behind you.” Bonus Notes! Switch-hitter Neil Walker will continue to get at-bats against lefties despite his poor season numbers (.241 OBP, no extra-base hits in 56 plate appearances). “It hasn’t been what we expected,” Hurdle said. “His 2010 season was pretty solid from the right side” with a .295/.344/.464 line that was similar to his performance as a left-handed hitter. Right-hander Jeanmar Gomez is back in the Pirates’ bullpen after being a candidate for Tuesday’s start. Hurdle: ”It almost seems like he’s invisible. He just goes out there, gives you 75-80 pitches, no one dings him too much.” Reliever Jared Hughes will travel to Florida “to continue his return to pitch progression,” the Pirates said. He said he felt good after Tuesday’s 35-pitch bullpen session. The Pirates also updated us on minor league right-handed pitchers Phil Irwin and Kyle McPherson. Now I will update you. Irwin had surgery to “transpose the ulnar nerve,” which is big city talk for moving a nerve in his right elbow, and he will be out about two months. McPherson will see Dr. James Andrews late next week. And while I’m here and you’re here (thanks for sticking around, by the way), I might as well pimp my Pirates Defensive Shifts treatise. I have been amazed by the positive response, and hope all of you who enjoyed it have a very handsome holiday. You’ve earned it.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Vikings want first-rounder, starting CB for Peterson

Report: Jarret Stoll arrested for possession of drugs

CJ Wilson: Josh Hamilton’s relapse a ‘tame scenario’

Head coaching candidates for the Denver Nuggets

Check out these leaked Clippers jersey redesigns

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Aqib Talib’s aggravated assault investigation suspended

Ohio State expects 80,000 at its spring game this Saturday

Bryant strikes out three times in debut; Cubs fans heckle him

NBA rookies who disappointed in 2014-15 season

Report: Urban Meyer reassured Belichick about Hernandez

Cuban: Harden is MVP, Rockets are not very good

Notre Dame wears 'Father Ted' patches during spring game

Five things to watch during the NBA Playoffs

Hanley Ramirez put hole in Green Monster during BP

WATCH: A-Rod belts two homers in win over Rays

Ubaldo Jimenez hit Pablo Sandoval with pitch, was ejected

NBA to track and post referees’ calls beginning in playoffs

MLB payrolls continue to rise

NBA playoffs: Los Angeles Clippers vs. San Antonio Spurs

Home runs ruined our ability to appreciate production

Why we love the NFL draft

There are only two contenders ... in the West?

Woman stripped of marathon win, didn't actually run in race

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five things to watch in NBA Playoffs

Report: Jarret Stoll busted for drugs

CJ Wilson: Hamilton is 'ready to go'

Leaked Clippers jersey redesigns

Tequila Patron Sports Car Showcase preview

Home runs ruined our ability to appreciate production

Why we love the NFL draft

The "worst" player on each NBA playoff team

Jim Harbaugh showed up at Ultimate Frisbee practice

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and the burden of legacy

Kris Bryant and floor versus ceiling

Top 10 storylines of the NBA Playoffs

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.