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More questions than answers, for now

BRADENTON, Fla. — Jose Tabata’s “meet the press” session today raised many more questions than it answered. How did his wife fake a pregnancy? When did the fake birth “happen,” and why wasn’t he there? How could he not be suspicious when he didn’t meet “his” baby for two months? How could he be unaware of his wife’s many aliases and criminal past? Why didn’t anyone with the Yankees or Pirates spot any red flags?

As the police investigation continues, the Pirates are remaining tight-lipped. Tabata declined to field questions, and read his statement only in Spanish. This case likely will get a bit stranger before it’s all said and done.

• I asked Tabata’s agent, Ulises Cabrera, if any members of Tabata’s immediate family would be coming from Venezuela to Florida to give him support. “You’re looking at his family here,” Cabrera said, sweeping his arm around the Pirate City complex. “It’s the Pirates.”

The lack of a strong, close-by family support system might begin to explain how Tabata, who came to America as a 17-year-old and still speaks only a bit of English, could be so easily duped.

• The lineups for tonight’s game:

Blue Jays — 1. Marco Scutaro ss, 2. Brad Emaus 2b, 3. Alex Rios rf, 4. Vernon Wells cf, 5. Lyle Overbay 1b, 6. Scott Rolen 3b, 7. Rod Barajas c, 8. Travis Snider lf, 9. Howie Clark dh. Roy Halladay will pitch.

Pirates — 1. Nyjer Morgan lf, Freddy Sanchez 2b, 3. Nate McLouth cf, 4. Ryan Doumit c, 5. Eric Hinske 1b, 6. Brandon Moss rf, 7. Andy LaRoche 3b, Brian Bixler ss, Virgil Vasquez rhp.

• Paul Maholm pitched against the New York Yankees’ Triple-A team at Pirate City. Maholm went seven innings (88 pitches/67 strikes) and allowed five runs (two earned) on five hits and struck out six.

• Infielder Andy Phillips, recovering from a sore back, also played in the minor league game. “I got five at-bats, hit and ran the bases,” Phillips said. “Everything went real good.” It was Phillips’ first game action since March 7.

• Jesse Chavez pitched three innings against the Yankees’ Double-A club and gave up one run on three hits. He walked one and struck out four.

• Ian Snell will start Saturday against the Phillies. John Grabow, Chris Bootcheck, Sean Burnett, Denny Bautista, Craig Hansen, Matt Capps, Jason Davis and Donnie Veal will be available in the bullpen. Jamie Moyer will start for the Phillies.

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