Tabata singles in first big league at-bat
Prospect takes over leadoff spot in Pirates' lineup
WASHINGTON -- Jose Tabata has altered Pittsburgh's lineup a little at the top.
Tabata got an infield single during his first Major League at-bat against the Nationals on Wednesday, but was left stranded at third base.
Manager John Russell placed Tabata in the leadoff spot and moved Andrew McCutchen back to third. The Pirates kept Neil Walker at No. 2, where he's been for all 13 games since coming to the team from Triple-A Indianapolis.
McCutchen has hit throughout the top of the order this season. He's batted first 11 times, second in 17 games and third 29 times. McCutchen has led off in the past nine games but isn't concerned about moving.
"With Jose being the type of player he is, he can be a leadoff-type guy, as well as he can hit later in the lineup," McCutchen said. "He's going to add a lot to the lineup. I'm looking forward to being able to hit behind him, and for him to be on base, and for me to drive him in."
Russell now has some good options for the top of the lineup, but McCutchen batting third could give Pittsburgh some real help, since the Pirates keep looking for someone there.
"Not really having that three hole hitter for us right now, we feel like Andrew is the guy that can fill that spot for us very well," Russell said. "He's right now one of the most accomplished hitters in our lineup, as far as driving the ball and getting on base."
The Pirates are looking to get a jolt on offense as they've struggled all season. They came into Wednesday's game with a .236 batting average -- last in the National League.
But if Tabata can hit in the leadoff spot, and Walker and McCutchen keep producing, the Pirates' offense should start packing more punch.
"We're going to have a lot of fun with it," McCutchen said.
Doumit sits with concussion-like symptoms
WASHINGTON -- Catcher Ryan Doumit was again out of the starting lineup in Wednesday's game while battling concussion-like symptoms but might be available off the bench.
Doumit has been experiencing those symptoms since taking a foul tip off his face mask on Sunday. He's still listed as day-to-day, but manager John Russell said they'll re-evaluate him on Thursday.
Bobby Crosby has been battling flu-like troubles the last few days, and was also not in the starting lineup Wednesday, but Russell said he was available off the bench.
Meek dominating out of bullpen
WASHINGTON -- Right-hander Evan Meek continued his impressive season with two shutout innings in Tuesday's 5-2 loss against Washington.
Those two innings dropped his ERA to a miniscule 0.78 -- which leads all Major League relief pitchers (with a minimum of 25 innings). Meek now has given up just three earned runs in 34 2/3 innings so far this season.
Meek hasn't given up a run -- earned or unearned -- in his last seven appearances. He's allowed a total of five runs in the 28 games he's pitched in this season.
Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.