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Published: Sunday, 5/14/2006

Tata tagged in Mud Hens debut

BY BRUCE WELLS
SPECIAL TO THE BLADE

RICHMOND, Va. - Jordan Tata's Triple-A debut didn't go as planned. In fact you might say it was down right ugly.

Tata gave up five runs in less then three innings of work and the Toledo bullpen was tagged for five more as Richmond beat Toledo 10-5 last night, sending the Mud Hens to their second straight loss.

The 24-year-old from Plano Texas - who appeared in seven games for Detroit this season before being sent down on May 11 - never looked comfortable on the mound during his brief night of work.

After tossing just 17 pitches in the first inning, it didn't take long for things to come unhinged for Tata. Working with a 3-1 count to Braves' shortstop Tony Pena with one out in the top of inning two, Tata already had begun his delivery to the plate with the next pitch, when time was called by the home plate umpire.

Parrish and pitching coach Jeff Jones were visibly upset at the timing of the move, yelling out at the umpire. The interruption also rattled Tata who ended up walking Pena. A Braves single put runners at the corners for Jamal Strong. Richmond manager Brian Snitker called for the suicide squeeze and Strong laid down a bunt that Tata played perfectly but his throw wasn't in time to get the speedy Pena at home plate.

Braves' catcher Dax Norris followed and crushed the first pitch he saw from Tata over the left field wall for a 3-run home run and a 4-0 Braves advantage.

The Mud Hens scratched their way back in the third.

Tike Redman walked and scored on a double to left that was misplayed by Richmond left fielder Michael Ryan, who, simply over ran the ball, allowing Redman to race all the way home from first. A two-out walk to Josh Phelps followed by a two-RBI triple by Alexis Gomez pulled the Mud Hens to within a run at 4-3.

The Braves added a final run off Tata before he was removed with two outs in the third for Tony Fiore.

The Mud Hens mounted a rally of sorts against Richmond starter Anthony Lerew in the fifth, loading the bases and chasing Lerew from the game. Braves' reliever walked the next batter, Brian Peterson, to force home a run, but Redman popped out leaving the bases full.

Two Toledo errors and the inability of Fiore and his eventual replacement Alex Herrera, led to four more Richmond runs in the bottom of the fifth.

The Mud Hens added a run in the sixth.

When he was young, Felipe Alou said: "I used to worry about age and dying. Once I got old, all of those worries were behind me."

Alou, who turned 71 Friday, is the oldest manager in the major leagues. His age prompts people to ask him how much longer he expects to manage. How often do they ask?

"Almost daily," Alou, the San Francisco Giants' manager, said. "That's the one question that I really don't like to hear because I don't know. It's up to me and my employer also. I signed a two-year contract to manage this team and I'm in the fourth year now."

Has anything changed from year to year? "Not a thing," Alou said, then added, "I'm drinking a lot more green tea again like I used to do years back."

What does green tea do for him? "I don't know," he said. "They say it's good for you. I don't know, but I'm drinking it."

For the first time in his 16 seasons in the majors, New York Yankees designated hitter Bernie Williams was ejected from a game. During the seventh inning Tuesday night, Williams took a called third strike and flipped his helmet backward as he walked off the field. It nearly hit plate umpire Charlie Reliford, who immediately ejected Williams.



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