• by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com

    Pirates' Tony Watson gives up homer in blown save

    Pirates reliever Tony Watson gave up a two-run home run to blow a two-run lead in the eighth inning. The Pirates eventually won in 14 innings. Watson allowed his first homer since April 21 and blew his first save opportunity of the year. He's 0 for 5 in his career on save opportunities.

  • by Elliott Smith | Staff Writer

    Pirates trying to limit innings for RP Tony Watson

    Pirates manager Clint Hurdle is trying not to overuse reliever Tony Watson and has spent the last two weeks purposely easing off one of his top bullpen arms, per TribLive.com. Watson has made just five appearances since May 17 as the Pirates hope to keep the pitcher from going way beyond his career highs of 78 appearances and 77 1/3 innings pitched. He's been very effective for Pittsburgh, with 16 straight scoreless appearances. "The biggest thing is to listen to your body and try to go as much as you can, but also know when to pump the brakes," Watson said.

  • by Brandon Wise | Staff Writer

    Pirates calling on Jared Hughes, Tony Watson more often

    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."

  • by R.J. White | CBSSports.com

    Pirates' Mark Melancon unavailable Sunday

    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.

  • by R.J. White | CBSSports.com

    Pirates' Tony Watson earns win Saturday

    Pirates pitcher Tony Watson was able to pitch out of a jam Saturday to deliver a scoreless eighth inning and eventually earn the win in his team's 2-1 victory over the Diamondbacks. Watson (1-1) gave up two hits in the outing and had men on second and third with one out, but was able to record a pop out and strikeout to escape the inning. "There is nobody he doesn't challenge," manager Clint Hurdle said after the game, per MLB.com. "He's been pitching this way for two-plus years. He's cool. He's got a slow heartbeat. He's not going to get rattled." Pitching coach Ray Searage visited Watson with two men in scoring position and one out, but there was no talk of issuing an intentional walk to the next batter. "No. Right away, we got with Ray and said we got a plan to get him out," Hurdle said. "We felt we were in an advantage situation with our guy on the mound. We bet on our guy." Watson gave up three earned runs in his season debut but has been excellent since. Saturday's outing gives him a 3.00 ERA and 11:0 K:BB ratio in 12 innings.

  • by Brandon Wise | Staff Writer

    Pirates pitcher Tony Watson picks up six-out save Wednesday

    Pirates pitcher Tony Watson worked two nearly perfect innings Wednesday in Pittsburgh's 4-3 win over the Cubs. Watson came on in relief in the eighth after Jared Hughes had issues to start the inning, allowing an RBI single to Miguel Montero to make it a 4-2 game. Watson got David Ross to hit a grounder to short, which got Starlin Castro out at third, but allowed a run to score to make it 4-3. Watson then got the next two batters out to end the threat. Watson then finished things off in the ninth with a strike out of Bryant for his first save of the year. "It wasn't the plan to use Tony that long but it was a gritty performance on his part," manager Clint Hurdle said after the game, per the Associated Press. Watson lowered his ERA to 3.27 in 11 innings of work.

  • by R.J. White | CBSSports.com

    Pirates' Tony Watson takes loss on Opening Day

    Pirates relief pitcher Tony Watson surrendered a three-run home run to take the loss in Monday's season opener against the Reds. Watson struck out the first batter he faced in the eighth inning before back-to-back singles brought Reds third baseman Todd Frazier to the plate with two on and one out. Frazier slugged the third pitch he saw to left field for a tiebreaking home run that put the Reds ahead for good. Watson allowed just five home runs in 77 1/3 innings while posting a 1.63 ERA in 2014. He didn't surrendered his fourth earned run last year until June 26 but has three earned runs after just one game in 2015.

  • by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com

    Pirates avoid arbitration with Snider, Watson, Rodriguez

    The Pirates have locked up outfielder Travis Snider, reliever Tony Watson and second baseman Sean Rodriguez all to one-year contracts, avoiding arbitration, according to Tom Singer of MLB.com. Rodriguez has settled for $1.9 million, Watson will make 1.75 million and Snider is now due to receive $2.1 million next season. The Pirates acquired Rodriguez from Tampa Bay via trade in the offseason. Rodriguez hit .211 with a career-high 12 home runs, 13 doubles and 41 RBI in 96 games in 2014. Snider slashed .264/.338/.438 with 13 homers and 38 RBI last season. Watson posted a sterling 1.63 ERA over 77 1/3 innings of relief.

  • by Igor Mello | CBSSports.com

    Pirates tender 11 arbitration-eligible players before deadline

    The Pirates have tendered a contract to 11 arbitration-eligible players prior to Tuesday's deadline, according to the team's official website. Those players include: Sean Rodriguez, Neil Walker, Francisco Cervelli, Mark Melancon, Chris Stewart, Travis Snider, Pedro Alvarez, Tony Watson, Josh Harrison, Jared Hughes and Vance Worley.

  • by R.J. White | CBSSports.com

    Tony Watson earns second save Tuesday

    Pirates pitcher Tony Watson picked up his second save Tuesday, giving up one hit and striking out one in his team's 3-2 win over the Braves. With closer Mark Melancon pitching four times in a five-day stretch, the Pirates turned to Watson to slam the door in a close game Tuesday. He's tossed 16 1/3 scoreless innings since last surrendering a run. Watson owns a 1.44 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 78:15 K:BB ratio in 75 innings.