Jose Tabata this morning tested his gimpy left leg on the field as team trainers looked on, and seemed up to speed enough to be in the starting lineup today against the Reds. Tabata asked out of yesterday’s game in the sixth inning after feeling tightness in his leg.
»»» Manager Clint Hurdle said RP Juan Cruz is expected to rejoin the team in time for the series this weekend in Milwaukee. Cruz was placed on the restricted list to attend to personal business at home in the Dominican Republic. A player on the restricted list does not count against the 40-man roster, so the Pirates still have an open spot (after Nate McLouth was DFA’ed). Also, players are paid but do not earn service time while on the restricted list.
»»» Not to jinx, it, but a win today would give the Pirates a season-high four-game winning streak. They won four in a row three times in 2011.
»»» The Pirates are 3-0 so far as they embark on a 12-game stretch against NL Central Division foes. When this run ends, the Pirates won’t face another division team until June 29, when they play the Cardinals.
»»» Neil Walker, who was bumped up to No. 2 in the lineup today, has hit safely in five straight games (8 for 19, .421) and eight of his past nine (13 for 32, .406) against the Reds. At PNC Park, Walker has hit safely in 14 of 18 against v. Cincy, going 22 for 60 (.367) with five doubles, a homer and 10 RBI.
Game 48: Reds @ Pirates,1:35 p.m. ET
Reds (27-20): 1. Drew Stubbs cf, 2. Wilson Valdez ss, 3. Joey Votto 1b, 4. Brandon Phillips 2b, 5. Jay Bruce rf, 6. Chris Heisey lf, 7. Miguel Cairo 3b, 8. Ryan Hanigan c, 9. Bronson Arroyo rhp (2-2, 3.22)
Pirates (23-24): 1. Jose Tabata lf, 2. Neil Walker 2b, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 5. Garrett Jones rf, 6. Matt Hague 1b, 7. Rod Barahas c, 8. Clint Barmes ss, 9. James McDonald rhp (3-2, 2.51)