Tabata gets a ‘major’ timeout

Outfielder Jose Tabata, whose tentative play with a balky hamstring has been a growing concern, was optioned Tuesday morning to Triple-A by the Pirates.

Recalled from Indianapolis to take the veteran’s place on the roster was outfielder Gorkys Hernandez.

Tabata, 23, has spent most of the last three seasons in the Pittsburgh outfield. In 72 games this season, most of them in right field, he was hitting .230, with an on-base percentage of .295.

The Venezuelan’s cautious play is best illustrated by his activity on the bases. While Tabata has eight steals, he has been caught a Major League-most nine times. Prior to this season, he had been successful on 35 of 47 steal attempts.

Manager Clint Hurdle had also questioned Tabata’s defensive efforts, citing numerous times he appeared to pull up on catchable balls.

During the Pirates’ weekend series in St. Louis, Hurdle had said, “The talking part is over. He needs to play. We’ve worked through this about as far as we can. It’s time.”

On Tuesday, the club decided it was time for Tabata to regain his bat speed and swagger in the International League.

This will be Hernandez’s second stint of the season with the Bucs. He made his big-league debut when called up on May 18. Until being returned to Indianapolis on June 5, the 24-year-old went 2-for-10 and made frequent appearances as a late-game defensive replacement.

Hernandez is reputed as the strongest defensive outfielder in the Pirates’ system.

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