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Pirates Could DFA Jose Ascanio, Call Up Lefty

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BRADENTON FL - FEBRUARY 20:  Pitcher Tony Watson #70 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photo during photo day at Pirate City on February 20 2011 in Bradenton Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
BRADENTON FL - FEBRUARY 20: Pitcher Tony Watson #70 of the Pittsburgh Pirates poses for a photo during photo day at Pirate City on February 20 2011 in Bradenton Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
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The Pirates could promote a lefty reliever, perhaps making room for him by designating Jose Ascanio, Rob Biertempfel reports:

"We might need to look at rearranging our bullpen," Hurdle said Sunday. "We face a lot of teams with a lot of left-handed (batters), and there's not as many options as I'd like to have." Joe Beimel (elbow inflammation) is on the disabled list, leaving Daniel Moskos as the lone lefty in the pen. One option would be to designate Jose Ascanio (7.11 ERA in eight outings) for assignment and call up either Tony Watson (2-3, 2.57 ERA in 21 outings) or Justin Thomas (3-1, 4.68 ERA in 24 outings) from Triple-A Indianapolis. Watson already is on the 40-man roster.

I like Ascanio's arm, but I can't complain much about designating him for assignment, given his extremely sketchy injury and performance history. There would be a decent chance the Pirates could sneak him through waivers and on to Indianapolis, which is probably where he should be right now.

Watson's numbers are better than Thomas' this year, and Watson is already on the 40-man roster, so he would be a very painless callup. If the Bucs do decide to add a lefty, I imagine it will be Watson. Watson immediately showed promise after being drafted in 2007, but he missed most of the 2009 season with elbow troubles, so he's had a long road to the majors. I'm rooting for him.