Jose Tabata, an outfield prospect in the New York Yankees organization, was signed out of Venezuela for $550,000 at the age of 16. In two Minor League seasons over 130 games with the Gulf Coast Yanks and Charleston RiverDogs, he's hit a combined .303 (144-for-475) with eight homers, 76 RBIs and 37 steals.
Hello from the Florida State League!
First, let me apologize for missing everyone two weeks ago. I hope I can make up for it with this journal today.
Some of you may have noticed that I missed a few games a little while ago. I had some pain and soreness in my right arm. It bothered me hitting, mostly, so it was decided that the best thing was for me to rest for about four days. It worked. I feel completely fine now.
We're a month and a half into the season, and I'm feeling more sure of myself in this league. I'm more relaxed. I know the pitchers a lot better. At the beginning of the season, I have to admit I was feeling a little disoriented. I feel I'm really coming into my own now.
The big news around the team these days, of course, is that Roger Clemens will be pitching for us on Friday. It's very big for the team. We never expected something like this. I'm very proud, waiting for this day, to be able to play with a legend such as Roger Clemens. It's going to be an amazing thing for all of us, to celebrate that one day maybe we will get to the same stage he's been on.
Truthfully, there are a lot of things I'd like to ask him, but I'm sort of embarrassed. If I can, I'll try to ask him how he gets prepared and what his rituals were when he was my age.
I played last year with his son. He's a great kid. Now playing with Koby's father, these are just things that happen in baseball.
I know there will be a lot of media attending. They're going to be there to see him, but they will see us, too. It's an opportunity for us, and we'll be playing with a lot more energy.
One of the things I've been working on off the field is my English. My wife has taught me a lot, and I've been learning more here and there. I actually know a lot, but sometimes I get a little embarrassed that I don't know enough. I just need to get more comfortable with it. I've done some short interviews in English, but if there's a word I don't understand, someone will explain it to me. Little by little, though, I'm getting better with it.
Speaking of my wife, thanks very much to people who wrote in asking how she was doing with the pregnancy. She's doing very well. She's eating a lot, which is good because she wasn't eating so much earlier.
That's it for me from Florida. I can't wait to play with Roger Clemens on Friday, and I'll talk to all of you in two weeks. Now lets answer some of your emails.
You seem to be a great batting average guy, with a nice package of speed and developing power. Do you see yourself being a possible 30-30 guy in the Majors or aren't you concerned with that stuff? -- Shad M., Cumberland MD
I always think about my team first. I've been that way since I was little. After a while, though, everybody does think in their head, "Will I get to 30, will I get to 40?" But first, I think about the team and then your talent will take you where it takes you.
The team practices all aspects of the game (hitting, fielding, situations, etc.), but I was wondering if there is a specific part of the game you're focusing on this season or maybe game to game? -- Korey K.
I'll tell you what I do in batting practice. In each round, I always focus on something different. For the first round, I imagine there's a man on second and I have to hit it to right field. In the second round, there's a man on third and I have to go straight away. Sometimes I imagine we're losing 1-0 in the ninth inning, and I have to bunt to get on. That's how I focus in batting practice, always concentrating on a different situation.
Jose Tabata is an outfield prospect in the New York Yankees organization and a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.