The Pirates will promote top prospects Jose Tabata and Brad Lincoln before today's game, Dejan Kovacevic reports:
Right after Washington’s Stephen Strasburg set the baseball world ablaze with 14 strikeouts, Brad Lincoln, the Pirates’ top pitching prospect, will be promoted from Class AAA Indianapolis take the mound for his major-league debut. And, in a surprise that materialized after the 5-2 loss tonight, Jose Tabata, the top outfield prospect, will join him.
Neither move will be formally announced until tomorrow, but multiple sources have confirmed the pending moves.
The Lincoln promotion has been in the works for quite a while and is probably even a bit overdue, but the Tabata move comes as a bit of a surprise. Not that Tabata isn't deserving, but it's generally been the policy of the Pirates' management to hold prospects in the minors until it's absolutely clear that they're ready. Tabata's current .308 AVG / .373 OBP / .424 SLG at Indianapolis, while solid, might fall a bit short of that standard.
Nonetheless, he's posted those sorts of numbers at nearly every stop of his minor league career, and it isn't as if the Pirates are overflowing with deserving corner outfield options. Garrett Jones will move to first base to make room for Tabata.
To clear space for Lincoln and Tabata, the Pirates designated reliever Jack Taschner for assignment and sent struggling first baseman Jeff Clement to Indianapolis.