ST. LOUIS — Jose Tabata stowed his gear in the Pirates’ clubhouse this morning, as Starling Marte (strained right oblique) went on the 15-day disabled list.
After batting .230 and giving less than an all-out effort in the field and on the basepaths, Tabata was demoted to Indy on July 3. It was not a smooth transition. Tabata didn’t play well — or play hard — after being sent down, and drew criticism from folks in Indy as well as those in the Pirates front office. “Everything’s different down there,” Tabata said. “I’ve been there a (while), so I feel more comfortable there now. I feel good.” Um, sure, but that doesn’t excuse his lousy effort at the start of his time in Indy. “It was difficult a little bit, but it happens,” Tabata said. “You’ve got to be strong. The past is the past. I want to forget the past. I’m here today. New mentality. Stronger.” We’ll see.
»»» Jordy Mercer was hit on the right wrist by a pitch last night, but X-rays were negative. “It’s just a bruise,” Mercer said this morning. After the game this afternoon, Mercer will fly to Oklahoma for a three-day paternity leave. His wife is scheduled to give birth tonorrow to their first child, a son (who’ll be named Maverick). But manager Clint Hurdle also indicated there’s a chance Mercer could go on the DL. “If he’s not hurt to the degree that he has to go on the DL, he’ll go on the leave,” Hurdle said. Chad Qualls, who’s on bereavement leave, is due back Monday. “As of right now, we expect him to return,” Hurdle said.
»»» Kevin Correia has been available in the bullpen the past two days, although Hurdle did not reveal that fact until this morning. Correia doesn’t seem optimistic about making any more spot starts. “That’s all over with now,” Correia said tersely. Hurdle explained why he did not put Erik Bedard, who Saturday gave up five runs in 4 2/3 innings, into the bullpen. “As we move forward, we’re trying to figure this out as best we can,” Hurdle said, “Bedard didn’t give us what we needed yesterday. But he got two wins at home and his next start will be at home. He’s pitched very well at home. So, as we continue to try to find the best rhyme and reason for our pitching staff, I told (Correia) he’s got to stay focused on pitching because, No. 1, an injury could pop up and, No. 2, we’ve got to find the best we can put out there.” So, there you have it. Bedard won his past two starts at PNC Park, so he (along with his league-leading 13 losses and 4.76 ERA) stays in the rotation.
»»» Jefff Karstens is 3-0 with a 2.52 ERA in four starts this year against NL Central clubs. In his last outing against the Cards on June 30 at Busch Stadium, he worked seven innings and outdueled Lance Lynn in a 7-3 win.
Game 121: Pirates @ Cardinals, 2:15 p.m. ET
Pirates (66-54): 1. Jose Tabata lf, 2. Josh Harrison 2b, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Gaby Sanchez 1b, 5. Travis Snider rf, 6. Michael McKenry c, 7. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 8. Clint Barmes ss, 9. Jeff Karstens (4-3, 3.91)
Cardinals (65-55): 1. Jon Jay cf, 2. Allen Craig 1b, 3. Matt Holliday lf, 4. Carlos Beltran rf, 5. David Freese 3b, 6. Yadier Molina c, 7. Skip Schumaker 2bf, 8. Rafael Furcal ss, 9. Jaime Garcia lhp (3-4, 4.48)