CINCINNATI -- It was one of manager Clint Hurdle's first edicts: He wanted his players to be aggressive, to take chances, to run more. Two weeks into the season, Jose Tabata has run -- literally so -- with that challenge.
With seven stolen bases in 13 games, Tabata has shown no hesitation to put in play the extensive work he did with baserunning coach Luis Silverio during Spring Training. Silverio specifically encouraged Tabata to extend his leads and improve his positioning to be in a better athletic stance to make the most of his first step.
The two studied pitchers' moves, an exercise that has helped Tabata become much more adept at reading pitchers. Now, the first thing Tabata will ask Silverio, the team's first-base coach, when he reaches base is how long it takes for the ball to get from a particular pitcher's hand to home plate.
"That was one of the things he told me early, that he had problem reading pitchers," Silverio said. "Now, he feels really confident that when he takes off, he's going to make it. After a couple of steps, he maximizes his speed. He has explosive speed. He just doesn't look like it."
Tabata stole 44 bases a year ago, though 25 of those came while he was in Triple-A. In 102 big league games, Tabata swiped 19 bases in 26 attempts.
Tabata's chances to steal have been aided by the fact that he has been on base at least once in every game so far this season. Hurdle's only complaint now is that others haven't yet been able to follow the left fielder's lead.
"He's basically stealing all the bases that we have," Hurdle said. "I'm pleased with what we're doing, but I'm really looking for other people to get involved as well. I think he's pretty good with the fact that we know we trust him and have confidence in him. He has not picked a bad pitch to run on."