TORONTO -- Third baseman Pedro Alvarez has resumed game activities and is taking steps toward being ready to return off the disabled list in July.
Alvarez began his Minor League rehab assignment on Monday, played third and went 0-for-1 in a rain-shortened Gulf Coast League game. His rehab work has now been transferred to Class A Bradenton, where Alvarez was expected to be in the lineup on Tuesday.
The Pirates have not laid out a specific timetable for Alvarez's return, though the third baseman is expected to spend a decent amount of time in the Minors after having taken very few swings and getting little repetition at third since going on the DL on May 21.
A position player can remain on a rehab assignment for up to 20 days. That means the Pirates could stall Alvarez's return until after the All-Star Break if the club wants. In the meantime, Chase d'Arnaud and Josh Harrison are expected to split the bulk of the playing time at third.
Pirates place Tabata on DL with quad strain
TORONTO -- The Pirates placed Jose Tabata on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Monday in order to give the outfielder sufficient time to recover from a left quadriceps strain that he suffered on Sunday.
This is the second leg injury that Tabata has sustained this year, and manager Clint Hurdle said that, in retrospect, he felt Tabata came back too quickly the first time. The outfielder missed four games in the beginning of May with right hamstring tightness.
"We wanted to be smart for the club, smart for Jose," Hurdle said. "This way he's going to have time so that when he does return he'll be 100 percent healthy."
The Pirates anticipate that Tabata will be ready to return immediately after the All-Star break, which would mean he'd miss only 12 games. Once Tabata regains full movement, he will head out on a Minor League rehab assignment to get a dose of at-bats.
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"When I walk I feel tight," said Tabata, who was still walking with a limp on Tuesday. "I feel better. The trainers say it's better today because I can stretch today."
Pedro Alvarez has missed more than a month with the same injury, though Tabata said he's been told by the training staff that his strain is not as severe. Alex Presley, who was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis on Monday, is expected to fill in as the team's leadoff hitter and left fielder during Tabata's absence.
Presley called up, will bat leadoff
TORONTO -- If promotions were entirely based on results, Alex Presley would have been in a Pirates' uniform weeks ago. The Triple-A outfielder has led the International League in hits for most of the season, but a logjam of outfielders already at the big-league level left the Pirates unable to find a spot for him on the roster.
Well, that wait is over. Presley was recalled from Indianapolis on Monday and will see regular playing time in left field while Jose Tabata recovers from a left quadriceps strain.
"All the things we had put down for him to work on [after Spring Training] he worked on and got better doing," manager Clint Hurdle said. "This could be a very good opportunity for him to put together a nice volume of at-bats right away to see where he can take it."
Presley arrives having batted .336 with 27 extra-base hits in 75 games with Indianapolis. Named the organization's Minor League Player of the Year in 2010, Presley ranked third in the International League in batting average, second in total bases (46) and fifth in runs scored (52) at the time of his promotion.
"I kind of built off last year, to be better at what I was already good at," Presley said. "I think I just refined what I was already doing, more than anything."
One of the areas where the Pirates wanted particular refining was in the running game. Presley has the speed to be a prolific base stealer, but until this year, he had never tapped into his potential. Making a concerted effort to run more often from the start of the season, Presley swiped 18 bases in 22 attempt with Indianapolis. Only two International League players had stolen more bases.
That speed will be an asset for the Pirates, who will be using Presley in the leadoff spot during Tabata's absence.
"It was never a matter of speed," Presley said. "It was just a matter of getting leads and going. It was more of a mental thing for me to just go. Before, I could find a way to talk myself out of stealing. This year has been totally different. I knew it was one of the things I had to do to get back [up]. I made it a priority just to go and see what happens."
Harrison recalled from Triple-A
TORONTO -- What was already expected to be a short stint in the Minors for Josh Harrison turned out to be only four days. He was recalled from Triple-A when the Pirates placed Jose Tabata on the disabled list on Tuesday.
Harrison had been sent down from Pittsburgh on Thursday with the understanding that he'd be back in the Majors in 10 days. The move was to be the first of a series of moves the Pirates were going to make during a 10-day period.
But plans were altered and the mandatory 10-day stay in the Minors was waived when Tabata went on the DL. That gave the Pirates the opportunity to add Harrison back into the infield mix, and the club took advantage.
"They told me just to be ready whenever," Harrison said of his meeting with management before he was sent down. "[The return was] probably a little sooner than they had anticipated. They told me [to] continue to keep playing and not to change anything. Keep the hard work and the enthusiasm that I had."
With both Chase d'Arnaud and Harrison on the Pirates' roster, the majority of the playing time at third base is expect to go to d'Arnaud, who has been manager Clint Hurdle's choice to fill the second spot in the batting order.
Harrison can back up d'Arnaud at third and Neil Walker at second. He batted .283 in the 16 games he played with the Pirates before his brief departure.
Pittsburgh acquired Minor League catcher Miguel Perez from the Nationals organization on Monday in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations. The Pirates, who are trying to bolster their catching depth, have assigned Perez to Triple-A Indianapolis. Perez was in the Pirates' organization in 2008-09.
The Pirates removed right-hander Michael Crotta from the disabled list on Monday and optioned him to Indianapolis. Crotta, who went on the DL with right posterior elbow inflammation after his May 10 outing, made four scoreless rehab appearances.
At the suggestion of orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews, right-hander Kevin Hart will stop pitching activities for about a month and will focus entirely on rehabbing and strengthening his right shoulder. Hart underwent surgery on his shoulder in May 2010 but had recently hit a plateau in his recovery.
Infielder Jordy Mercer has been promoted to Triple-A, where he will see regular playing time at short. Mercer, the team's third-round selection in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, hit .268 in 72 games with Double-A Altoona.
The Pirates have sent infielder Josh Rodriguez down to Double-A, where he will continue his development. Rodriguez began the season in Pittsburgh as a Rule 5 pick before being returned to Cleveland in late April. Pittsburgh recently reacquired him in a Minor League deal.
Rinku Singh, one of two Indian pitchers the Pirates signed in November 2008, has been promoted to short-season State College. The 6-foot-2 left-hander made one appearance with State College last season, but had otherwise spent his time pitching in the Gulf Coast League.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.