BRADENTON -- Jose Tabata singled with one out in the first inning of Tuesday's game in Tampa.
Then he stole second.
Then he trotted home on a long home run off the bat of Andrew McCutchen, rendering the theft moot.
Still, manager Clint Hurdle knows that will not be the norm this season with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Yes, there are guys, such as McCutchen, who can power a ball into the stands. But if the Pirates are to contend in the National League Central this year, they will have to play a National League style of ball.
In other words, sitting
back and banking on power won't work.
So Hurdle wants his Pirates to be aggressive on the bases this spring and wants that aggressiveness to carry over into the regular season.
"We're gonna run. We're going to pick our spots, but we're gonna run," Hurdle said. "Said it all along all spring -- guys who can go are going to go."
Tuesday's lineup against the New York Yankees looked a lot like the one the Pirates will use when they open the season April 5 against Philadelphia. The top two hitters, Tabata and leadoff batter Alex Presley, will be expected to utilize their legs to start rallies.
Tabata stole 16 bases in 91 games last year, while Presley swiped 22 bags last season in Triple-A and nine more when he was promoted to Pittsburgh.
"We're not going to sit around and wait for the three-run homer. Some teams can do that, but it's not really our thing," Presley said. "We can hit some home runs, but we're not going to rely on it. We need to be aggressive and we've got to play hard. It's just the kind of team we are -- scrappy."
The Pirates stole 108 bases last year, good for seventh in the 16-team National League. But their on-base percentage (.309) was 12th, as was their slugging percentage (.368).
So if they want to get more runners over and in, they have to get more on first. And speed is the way to go: Last year's Pirates had more guys with double-digit steals (four) than double-digit home runs (three).
"I look at us as being a pretty aggressive team, as far as being on the base paths," said McCutchen, who paced the Pirates with 23 steals in 2011, "and making things happen with our legs and going for that extra base."
McCutchen, who also racked up a team-best 23 home runs last year, is expected to hit third in the order and serve as Pittsburgh's chief run producer. But he isn't going to abandon the other part of his game.
"Every opportunity I get, just trying to get that chance to just be a threat," said McCutchen, who has 76 percent success rate (78 for 103) stealing bases, "and let that pitcher know that I'm trying to go. That's what I'm trying to do -- just be a threat on the base paths.
"We don't have a lot of guys that can hit for power, so we've just got to work those counts and just doing a lot on the base paths. We've got to play small ball. That's the kind of ball we've got to play over the course of the season in order to win ballgames."
And it's a brand of baseball the Pirates appear to ready to embrace.
"It's a fun way to play," Presley said. "We've got some speed in the lineup, and we've got a lot of guys that like to put pressure on the defense. You get out there, might as well play hard and put pressure on people and force the defense to make some mistakes."