PITTSBURGH -- Jose Tabata returned to Pittsburgh on Monday, but the outfielder was not activated from the disabled list prior to the club's series opener against the Cardinals. Rather, the Pirates called Tabata away from his Minor League rehab assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis to have him undergo a medical checkpoint review.
The purpose, according to manager Clint Hurdle, was to see Tabata go through a series of drills to ensure that his mobility is no longer affected by a left quad strain that put him on the DL on June 28.
While Hurdle wouldn't speculate on an activation date for the outfielder, Tabata said he was told that if all goes well on Monday, he'd be ready to return on Tuesday.
"I feel good. I feel ready to go," Tabata said. "It's been a long time since I [have seen] a Major League ball. I feel nervous a little bit because I want to do a good job. But at the same time, I don't want to put pressure on [myself]. I [have] come back here, and I'll try to do my same job."
Tabata played in nine games with Indianapolis and went 11-for-33 with six extra-base hits. He attempted two stolen bases, and Hurdle said the reports were that Tabata had improved his outfield routes and running times during the latter part of the rehab stint.
"At the beginning, I felt a little uncomfortable," Tabata said. "But now I feel much better. I think I'm finding my swing again. I'm very happy for that."
The Pirates will have to make a corresponding roster move when they are ready to make Tabata's return official. Steve Pearce and Pedro Alvarez, both of whom have struggled since returning from their own injuries, would be candidates to be optioned to Triple-A. Both players, it would seem, could benefit from taking a step back and playing every day in the Minors.