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Pirates' interleague 'rival' slated to be Tigers

| Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012, 8:58 p.m.
Christopher Horner
Pirates shortstop Clint Barmes tags out Detroit's Austin Jackson on a stolen base attempt Sunday, June 24, 2012 at PNC Park. Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review

SAN DIEGO — Major League Baseball will release its 2013 schedule in the next few weeks. It is expected that NL Central teams will face AL West clubs in interleague play next season.

According to an MLB official who has seen an advance copy of the schedule, the Pirates' annual “natural rival” in interleague play is the Detroit Tigers. In the past, the Pirates have lobbied for an annual series against Cleveland, but the Indians already have a rivalry series against Cincinnati.

The Pirates are 15-18 against the Tigers since interleague play began in 1997, and the teams have squared off each of the past four seasons. This year the teams split six games, with the Pirates winning two of three at home.

Next year, the Houston Astros will move from the NL Central to the AL West. The Pirates last played the Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners in 2007 and the Texas Rangers and the Oakland A's in 2010 (away). The Rangers played in Pittsburgh in 2007, the Angels and Mariners have not been here since 2004 and the A's last visited PNC Park in 2002.

• Jose Tabata has hit safely in five of his six games since being recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis. “I'm very pleased with what I've seen so far,” manager Clint Hurdle, who also cautioned that it's only been a handful of games. “There seems to be a confidence involved that might not have been there consistently before (this season).” Tabata admitted he put pressure on himself after signing his $15 million contract last year.

• Starling Marte (oblique) will be re-evaluated Friday by team doctors, who'll determine if he is ready yet for any type of physical activity. Marte was injured Saturday while running the bases. He's eligible to come off the disabled list Sept. 3.

— Rob Biertempfel

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