Hughes and the Pirates agreed to a one-year, $2.175 million contract Friday, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Hughes posted another successful major league season in 2015, seeing a few save opportunities but mainly serving as a late-inning setup man for closer Mark Melancon. The 30-year-old should keep a similar role with the club in 2016, and could have an outside shot at closer duties should Melancon suffer an injury.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle appears to have two favorite players coming out of the bullpen right now, according to MLB.com. Jared Hughes and Tony Watson have appeared in 18 of the team's first 31 games with Hughes throwing again on Monday, pitching a perfect eighth inning. "The more, the merrier," Hughes said. "The most important thing is sticking to a routine, staying in good shape. And I feel good." "That's high. It would be called red-lining if they were sports cars," Hurdle had said of the two setup men's appearances prior to game. He reiterated afterward, "We do have to find some rest for them." Hughes made 63 appearances in 2014, but thinks he's just fine with is workload so far. "A lot of times, it's to face only a couple of batters. And I get low pitch counts," Hughes said, "because I force early contact."
Pirates reliever Jared Hughes suffered his first loss of the season in Pittsburgh's 11-inning loss to St. Louis. Hughes entered in the tenth and pitched a perfect inning, striking out one. He took the mound to start the eleventh and three straight hits, followed by a walk-off sacrifice fly. Hughes saw his ERA grow to 2.84.
Pirates closer Mark Melancon is unavailable to pitch Sunday after racking up three saves in the last three days, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Melancon has dealt with some velocity issues this April and owns a 5.79 ERA and 5:4 K:BB ratio in 9 1/3 innings, but he hasn't surrendered a run in any of his three appearances over the last three days. With the closer getting a scheduled break, the team could turn to lefty Tony Watson or righty Jared Hughes in a save opportunity Sunday.
Pirates reliever Jared Hughes allowed his first run since April 8 on an unearned run. He gave up three hits and blew his first save of the season. Hughes' ERA now stands at 1.00 on the season.