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Lincoln joins Pirates; Tabata next?

WASHINGTON — The Pirates on Tuesday got a close-up look at the buzz — and the impact — a talented rookie can have on a team.

Today, the Pirates seem poised to try to do the same thing.

Shortly after losing 5-2 against the Washington Nationals and pitching prodigy Stephen Strasburg, the Pirates announced the first of two sets of roster moves.

First baseman Jeff Clement, a disappointing hitter on a low-wattage offense, was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. Reliever Jack Taschner was designated for assignment.

Clement is batting .189 with five home runs and nine RBI in 45 games. Taschner has a 6.05 ERA in 17 appearances, with eight walks and 17 strikeouts.

Although the Pirates have not made it official, top pitching prospect Brad Lincoln will be promoted from Indy to take Taschner's place on the active roster. Lincoln, a right-hander, will make his major-league debut tonight against the Nationals.

The other call-up will be announced today. MLB.com reported that the Pirates will bring up outfielder Jose Tabata, who's hitting .308 with three homers, 18 RBI and 23 stolen bases.

The arrival of Tabata would boost an offense which ranks among the worst in the majors. The bench is thin, too. Last night, the Pirates were without catcher Ryan Doumit (concussion) and infielder Bobby Crosby (stomach virus).

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