Watson putting up All-Star numbers
Reliever could join offensive standouts McCutchen, Walker in Minnesota
ST. PETERSBURG -- Andrew McCutchen is getting the most publicity for his hot June, but there's another Pirate having an All-Star-caliber season -- relief pitcher Tony Watson.
The left-hander picked up his 20th hold of the year in Tuesday's 6-5 win against the Rays at Tropicana Field, entering in the eighth inning and getting a strikeout and a foulout to end the inning.
Watson has a 0.76 ERA this season. He's given up just three earned runs with 45 strikeouts in 35 2/3 innings, and he didn't allow a run from April 24 through June 12.
Fans can't vote for Watson, but they can cast ballots for candidates like McCutchen, who is currently in second place among National League outfielders, or Neil Walker, who is second among second basemen.
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com and all 30 club sites -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15.
Fans may submit up to 25 online ballots, but they can also earn a one-time bonus of 10 additional online ballots. To access these additional online ballots, you must be logged into your MLB.com account when you submit any online ballot. If you do not have an MLB.com account, register on the site in accordance with the enrollment instructions for a free MLB.com account.
Fans this year once again can participate in the Home Run Derby Fan Poll. Fans will have the opportunity to select three players in each league whom they would most like to see participate in the Home Run Derby. The 2014 Home Run Derby will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN HD, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Radio in the United States beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, July 14.
The 2014 American League and National League All-Star teams will be unveiled on the 2014 MLB All-Star Game Selection Show during the weekend of July 5-6, with further details to follow on MLB.com. Immediately following the announcement of the AL and NL All-Star rosters, fans can begin voting to select the final player for each league's 34-man roster via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Final Vote Sponsored by Experian. Fans will cast their votes from a list of five players from each league over the balloting period.
And the voting doesn't end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote Sponsored by Pepsi, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
MLB.com will provide extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 85th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
Marte improves, but not in lineup for finale
ST. PETERSBURG -- Pirates left fielder Starling Marte, who left Tuesday's game against the Rays with concussion-like symptoms, was feeling much better on Wednesday, though he was not in the starting lineup.
"The decision is, we're going to give him a day to slow down," manager Clint Hurdle said. "He cleared the concussive tests this morning.
"The reports back from the hotel were all of a positive fashion. There was nothing negative leading us more toward a concussive state. He showed up back, slept well, feels much better today than he did yesterday."
In the fifth inning of the Pirates' 6-5 win, Marte tried to steal second base and slid headfirst into Tampa Bay second baseman Sean Rodriguez's knee. He was helped off the field and taken out of the game.
Hurdle said Marte also had a swollen right middle finger, which he jammed sliding into the bag on the play.
Marte was listed on the "Available Players" portion of the Pirates' lineup card Wednesday, but Hurdle said he would not appear in the game.
"He's not playing today," Hurdle said.
Marte is batting .260 with five home runs, 27 RBIs and 18 stolen bases in 72 games.
Cole to return from DL for Saturday's start
ST. PETERSBURG -- Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole will start Saturday's game against the Mets in Pittsburgh, manager Clint Hurdle announced Wednesday. He has been on the disabled list with right shoulder fatigue since June 8.
Cole's status had been up in the air, much like the rest of the Pirates' weekend pitching lineup. While Hurdle committed to Cole, he said the team had not made any decisions yet about the rotation as a whole.
"I'll give you this: Cole's starting Saturday," Hurdle said. "We're in discussions now about what that'll do to the rotation. We'll have those discussions starting tomorrow, and we'll get you updated on what we have. There's a lot of possibilities.
"I don't want to lead into anything. I don't have any thoughts along those lines."
Cole is 6-3 with a 3.64 ERA in 12 starts this season. He threw a six-inning, 84-pitch simulated game at Tropicana Field on Monday as part of his rehab.
As for who will start against the Mets in the first two games of the four-game series, the Pirates have listed Vance Worley (1-0, 1.98 ERA in two starts) as the probable starter for Thursday and Brandon Cumpton (3-2, 4.93 ERA in eight starts) as the probable starter for Friday.
Hurdle said there were no changes on that front as of Wednesday.
David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.