DETROIT -- Jose Tabata was benched by manager Clint Hurdle for Friday night's Interleague opener, but not for misplaying two significant fly balls while playing left field in Thursday night's game in Washington.
"He got turned around on one, and clanked another," Hurdle said of Adam LaRoche's sixth-inning RBI triple and of Danny Espinosa's seventh-inning leadoff double, respectively. "He's human. It happens."
But not running hard out of the box -- that can't happen on a Hurdle team. Tabata was guilty of that in the ninth, when with men on first and second he topped a ball in front of the plate that he "ran" into a catcher-to-third-to-first double play.
"He didn't get out of the box. We saw it happen. We've seen it happen a couple of times," said Hurdle. "They understand when that happens something else also happens: You're gonna sit over there with me and watch.
"We had a talk. Jose said he 'lost the moment.' Fine, then get down the line. That didn't happen, and that's not part of our identity. That's not what we're creating here. When Jose plays with energy and focus as he has the last three weeks, everybody feeds off him. We revisited that in our talk today, and he's gonna be ready to help."
Nate McLouth replaced Tabata in left field in the starting lineup, with Garrett Jones in the other corner of the outfield. Even if a late-game defensive switch is made, it might not involve Tabata. Gorkys Hernandez, a defensively-superior outfielder certain to get a quick first test, was promoted from Indianapolis on Friday afternoon.