TRENTON - Thunder right fielder Jose Tabata was yanked from tonight's game against visiting New Hampshire in the fifth inning for unspecified disciplinary reasons.
Suspended three games by the Yankees for leaving Waterfront Park following an April 26 strikeout that dropped his batting average below .200, Tabata was expelled from the dugout and was seen sitting in front of his locker as the Fisher Cats grabbed a 4-3 lead in the eighth inning on a two-run home run by Aaron Mathews.
The Thunder (34-19) eventually won the game, 7-4, by scoring three times in the bottom of the eighth to avoid a four-game sweep at the hands of the Fisher Cats (19-33).
Manager Tony Franklin refused to address the specifics as to why the 19-year-old Tabata was pulled and sent back to the clubhouse.
"We had an in-house issue we needed to deal with. Don't ask me what it is because I'm not telling you,'' a visibly irritated Franklin said. "We're very pleased with the way he is playing. He is playing hard. But there are certain standards that need to be met within this organization and with this team, and when those standards are not met we take action. It's our job to make sure these players know what they are supposed to do at all times out there.''
Franklin did not rule out further discipline for Tabata, who was 0-for-2 before being removed.
"We'll decide on that later,'' Franklin said. "We'll bring him in, talk to him and explain what we want to see him do and how we'd like to see him go about it.''
It is not yet known whether Tabata will accompany the team to New Britain, Conn., where the Thunder will begin a six-game road trip tomorrow.
Not good, regardless of what Franklin might say. Little doubt now that at the very least, Tabata is not going to be the Yankees #1 rated positional prospect any longer. What remains to be seen is how far he has to fall before he gets his act together. If he can't handle the bright lights of Trenton, what can we expect in NY?