Tabata finding own identity away from Clemente

Tabata finding own identity away from Clemente

PITTSBURGH -- During Spring Training, Jose Tabata mentioned that his plan for re-launching his career included breaking away from his well-known dotage of Roberto Clemente.

His adoration of the Pirates immortal remains but, "I have to be my own person. I wanted to get my own identity," he said.

That included more than a new mindset, turns out. Tabata confirmed that a few months ago he had something removed that had been a part of him, literally -- the Clemente tattoo on his left upper chest.

But Tabata still plays with Clemente in his heart, and still plays with PNC Park's Clemente Wall at his back. He drew another start in right field Tuesday night, against Brewers right-hander Kyle Lohse, and went 3-for-5 with two doubles in the 4-3, 12-inning win over Milwaukee to up his batting average to .294 for the season.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle didn't have to think too hard about starting him -- Tabata entered the game with a lifetime .476 (10-for-21) average against Lohse.

"And there aren't too many guys in the game who are 10-for-21 against Lohse," Hurdle said.

Tabata, 12-for-26 in his last six starts, may be back in the lineup on Wednesday, as he's 4-for-10 against Yovani Gallardo, Milwaukee's scheduled starter.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.