"I had just arrived in Erie actually and was in the middle of getting unpacked," says Tata. "The next thing I know, I'm catching a flight to Kansas City to meet the Tigers for their season opener on practically no sleep. It was a dream come true to say the least."
Tata spent the first six weeks of the season with the Tigers playing in a ‘relief pitching role', before be reassigned to the Toledo Mud Hens at the Triple-A level , skipping Erie all together.
The six-foot-six Plano, Texas native has a 4-3 record after nine starts with the Mud Hens, as he continues to work hard on some basic objectives laid out by the Tigers staff upon his assignment to Toledo.
"One the biggest things the Tigers want me to work on are my off-speed pitches," claims the 25-year old right-hander. "I've always been considered more of fast ball type pitcher, but now I'm incorporating more cutters, down and away type pitches. In fact, one of my more effective pitches right now would have to be a four seam cutter, which seems to produces a lot of ground balls."
The idea of returning to minors after starting the season in the major leagues would weight heavy on most minds, but for Tata, pitching in Triple-A is still ahead of schedule from where he expected to be at this point of his young career.
"I am proud of the way I played in Detroit. Even in a relief role, I felt I did well and most of all think I showed some people that I can play at that level," said Tata who hopes to prove himself now in Toledo and return to the majors as a starter.
Tata was standout while attending Sam Houston State in Texas before being selected by the Tigers in the 16th round of the 2003 draft.
Coming from a smaller college really had no bearing on Tata's dream of making it to the major leagues.
"To be honest, I really had no other offers at the time Sam Houston came along," said Tata, who earned a Third-Team All Southern Conference honor as a senior in 2003.
"It was a nice experience going to a smaller school and still having the chance to play some of the bigger schools in Texas which gave us good exposure."
Tata enjoyed his first full season of pro ball in 2003 with the Oneonta Tigers of the New York-Penn League posting a 4-3 record after12 starts.
The following season he played with the West Michigan Whitecaps of the Mid West League, winning both pitcher of the week in August of that season as well as earning the Tigers Minor League Player of the month that same month despite having some growing pains in the first half of that season.
"I did have some trouble out of the gate in 2004. It was a bit of an adjust for me that year, but I just bared down and put my mind to throwing strikes and was able to rebound in the second half," Tata states.
Tata spent 2005 in Single-A with the Lakeland Tigers in the Florida Stat League with an impressive 13-2 record, which surely had an impact on the top Tiger brass' off season contemplation of Tata starting the 2006 season with an old English D on his chest.
For the moment Tata is enjoying his first season as a Mud Hen and is proud to be part of a championship team in Toledo.
"These are a really great bunch of guys here. There is a good mix of players and that is really important in a good ball club. I'm not surprised why they did win it all last year," says Tata.