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Published: Thursday, 5/25/2006

Tata happy to be in starting rotation

BY MAUREEN FULTON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Last year Jordan Tata played strictly Single-A ball as a starting pitcher.

This year he found himself up with the Detroit Tigers on the second day of the season as a reliever.

Tata, a 24-year-old right-hander for the Mud Hens, has taken all the changes in stride. He made his third start for Toledo yesterday, and got no decision in Hens' 1-0 win over Buffalo.

Tata spent last season in Lakeland, Fla., going 13-2 with a 2.79 ERA. At 6-foot-6, 220 pounds, Tata is glad to settle back into a starting rotation after a little over a month in Detroit's bullpen.

"Bullpen was a big adjustment for me, it was my first time," Tata said. "I definitely feel more comfortable starting. I'm starting to get back into my routine. Everything's going smooth."

Tata's first time back as a starter for the Hens on May 13 didn't go as he hoped. He gave up five runs and walked four batters in 22/3 innings. But in his past two starts his ERA has continually shrunk. Yesterday Tata threw six-plus innings, giving up six hits and just one walk to go along with four strikeouts.

"He threw very well," Hens manager Larry Parrish said. "It looked like he sort of ran out of gas in the last inning. He was down, down with his pitches, and then the last inning he pitched, really the inning before, his pitches started going up."

No matter the challenges of adapting to what the team needs, Tata is up for it.

"Some of the veteran guys, Todd Jones, Jamie Walker, they know how to help a young guy like me prepare to go out every day instead of every fifth day," Tata said. "Just going to the big leagues and knowing I can compete up there is a big confidence boost for me."

HOT CATCHER: Coming into yesterday's game, Hens catcher Brian Peterson had only caught two runners stealing all year. He threw out two more yesterday at second base. Peterson threw out Ben Francisco in the fourth and Jason Cooper in the fifth.

"He's been struggling to do that, so that was good," Parrish said.

BUNTS: Pitcher Steve Green will likely be activated from the disabled list today. As for a position player to replace Jack Hannahan, Parrish hasn't heard when the Hens will get someone. He said, "We're sort of strapped there right now." Center fielder Tike Redman's nine-game hitting streak came to an end. The Hens finished 3-0 in "school day" games this year.



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