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Hurdle: Slumping Tabata facing demotion

| Thursday, June 28, 2012, 7:10 p.m.
The Pirates' Jose Tabata gets high-fives after hitting a fifth-inning home run against the Astros at PNC Park on May 12, 2012. (Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review)

PHILADELPHIA — If Jose Tabata doesn't soon resolve the issues that have led to an inconsistent season, his next step could be Triple-A Indianapolis, manager Clint Hurdle said Thursday.

Tabata did not start yesterday's series finale at Citizens Bank Park. He was 3 for 13 in the first three games, mixing in a home run with some poor at-bats. He committed two errors Monday and twice let a ball bounce in front of him, costing his team runs.

Hurdle said he can't say whether Tabata's problems are mental, but the time has come for him to figure it out.

“One thing you can bring every day is your attitude and your effort. I demand that, and I think we've had some disconnects with that,” he said. “I think, subconsciously in Jose's case, there is a fear of reinjuring himself. But it's like a pitcher worrying about his shoulder. If you're going to get hurt, you're going to get hurt. You have to play. We've talked about it. The talking part is over. He needs to play. We've worked through this about as far as we can. It's time.”

Tabata entered yesterday's game as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning but did not get an at-bat. He's hitting .226 with three homers and 11 RBI in 69 games.

• Since neither Tabata nor Alex Presley has excelled in the leadoff spot, Hurdle gave the nod to Drew Sutton yesterday. He hit a leadoff single and was 1 for 3 with a run and a walk.

A.J. Burnett usually throws to catcher Rod Barajas, who has a bone bruise in his left knee. His only experience with Michael McKenry had come May 2 at St. Louis, when Barajas was ejected and Burnett gave up 12 runs and 12 hits in 2 23 innings. “I was really impressed today with McKenry,” Burnett said. “I maybe shook him (off) once or twice all game. He was outstanding, and I can't say enough about him.”

• The Pirates signed 26th-round pick Jimmy Rider, an infielder from Kent State and a member of the 2007 WPIAL Class AAAA state championship team at Peters Township. They also released Double-A Altoona outfielder/first baseman Miles Durham.

• There was no update on Daniel Moskos, who was designated for assignment Tuesday. After 10 days, if Moskos clears waivers, the Pirates can trade or release him. Although less likely, he could rejoin the organization if they agree to that option.

— Karen Price

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