Pregame: Watson called up


One of my press box mates wryly observed, “Clint Hurdle 1, Neal Huntington 0,” when the Pirates announced their roster move this afternoon. Righty reliever Jose Ascanio was designated for assignment and lefty reliever Tony Watson was recalled from Triple-A Indy.

Hurdle made it clear in the offseason that he wanted two left-handers in the bullpen, but has been forced to get by with one for most of the year. That’s not a huge issue if the one lefty is Joe Beimel, but the veteran is on the DL with a sore elbow. With Beimel out, the lone lefty instead has been rookie Daniel Moskos and Hurdle was uncomfortable with the setup.

Ascanio has been a disappointment since they Pirates got him in the John Grabow trade in 2009. Sidelined by injuries, he came into this season having pitched in just two five games — at any level — since the trade.

»»» The Pirates made an intriguing move with their second-round draft pick, taking high schooler Josh Bell. A Scott Boras client, Bell told teams before the draft he was intent on playing at the University of Texas. The Red Sox and Tigers had mulled drafting Bell in the first round — some scouts consider him the best high school bat in the draft — but may have been scared off. If the Pirates are unable to sign Bell, they’ll get a second-round compensatory pick next year. If Bell goes to college, he’ll likely be a top-five pick in 2013, when he’s eligible to re-enter the draft.

»»» Neil Walker is getting a day off, so Andrew McCutchen tonight will bat cleanup for the first time in his career. Since the start of last season, McCutchen ranks first among NL centerfielders with a .366 OBP.

Lineups for tonight’s game:

Diamondbacks (33-27) – 1. Ryan Roberts 3b, 2. Kelly Johnson 2b, 3. Justin Upton rf, 4. Stephen Drew ss, 5. Chris Young cf, 6. Miguel Montero c, 7. Juan Miranda 1b, 8. Gerrado Parra lf, 9. Daniel Hudson rhp (6-5, 4.22)

Pirates (28-30) – 1. Jose Tabata lf, 2. Josh Harrison 2b, 3. Xavier Paul rf, 4. Andrew McCutchen cf, 5. Lyle Overbay 1b, 6. Chris Snyder c, 7. Brandon Wood 3b, 8. Ronny Cedeno ss, 9. Kevin Correia rhp (8-4, 3.40)