Today's news is that Tony Watson was optioned to Indy and Brad Lincoln called up. Lincoln was 7-8 with a 4.19 ERA for the Tribe while Watson is the only member of the bullpen that still has a live option.
We don't believe this has anything to do with Watson's performance (0-2, 2.73, 25 appearances) as much as the Pirate need for some fresh arms after the pen has been worked to death in the past ten days. We're a little surpised, though; we thought Ross Ohlendorf would get the call. Apparently they want to give him an outing or two more at Indy.
However, a stint in the pen may not be the reason for the call. What we'd watch for is Bad Brad to spot start tomorrow. He hasn't pitched in a week, and Kevin Correia of the notoriously poor PNC record is scheduled to go.
So Lincoln could easily take his place and allow Clint Hurdle to adjust his rotation to give some guys a rest. Only Paul Maholm is used to a full season's workload, and the innings are beginning to show on the staff. It also provides the added incentive of pushing back Correia's start to the road, where he's been much sharper.
Of course, Lincoln could just be Ohlie's placeholder, too. In that case, he'll be returned when Ohlendorf is ready, and in all likelihood both he and Watson will rejoin the club in September.
So tomorrow will tell if the Bucs are just swapping out long men or trying to give a struggling staff an extra day to catch their breath.