With club mostly intact, Bucs welcome Benoit

New reliever set to take Watson's seventh-inning role

August 1st, 2017

PITTSBURGH -- After an off-day Monday, the Pirates returned mostly intact to PNC Park following the non-waiver Trade Deadline.

The Bucs made two moves Monday, sending left-hander Tony Watson to the Dodgers in exchange for two prospects and acquiring right-hander from the Phillies. Benoit was on hand and available for Tuesday night's series opener against the Reds, eager to contribute and hopeful the Bucs can get back in the National League Central race.

"Sense of relief is that it's over," said. "Everyone has their eyes and ears in on everything, seeing what's happening. That can always be a little taxing. That's over with. We can put that behind us and show up today, just be ready to go."

McCutchen, an early season topic of trade speculation nearing the end of his contract with the Pirates, was asked to evaluate the Pirates' Deadline moves as they neither bought nor sold.

"We didn't make many. That's what I think about it," McCutchen said. "We sent Tony off. I wish him the best. We've seen a lot of people come here and leave. Been here through it all. I've seen it all, honestly. We got what we got. Benoit's been around. He has a track record. He's seen a lot, so I'm sure he can teach those bullpen guys a thing or two. I'm sure he'll be able to help us out there. Looking forward to trying to finish strong."

Benoit will essentially replace Watson as the Pirates' seventh-inning reliever in front of setup man and closer . Benoit is unlikely to enter the game in the middle of an inning, manager Clint Hurdle said, but he could pitch later in games if Nicasio or Rivero is unavailable.

Tuesday's introduction was nothing new for Benoit. The Pirates are the eighth team the 40-year-old has played for. He joked he's gotten used to moving during his "35-year career" (actually 16) and remembered pitching to catcher "like 17 years ago" (actually 10; both played for the 2007 Rangers).

"It's a fresh start. It's always good to get a fresh start," Benoit said. "Hopefully I can contribute to something good here and we can play some October baseball. … I believe that we've got two months to see where we're going to go. I know where we want to go."

Like McCutchen, Hurdle looked back fondly on Watson's tenure with the Bucs. From the time of his debut on June 8, 2011, no pitcher in baseball has logged more appearances than Watson's 450.

"Dependability would be on top of the list," Hurdle said. "Became a clubhouse leader, a foundational rock out there in the bullpen. ...  Very special man. We were fortunate to have him in the organization. This guy was a real Pirate."

Around the horn

(strained left hamstring) could "possibly" return from the disabled list Wednesday night, Hurdle said. Polanco ran the bases Tuesday and said he nearly felt good enough to play. He has been sidelined since July 22, and the Pirates went 2-6 in his first eight games out.

• Josh Harrison (lower left leg discomfort) remained out of the Pirates lineup on Tuesday after exiting Sunday's game in the third inning. started at second base, with in right field.

• The Pirates assigned infielder Oneil Cruz and right-hander Angel German, acquired in the Watson trade, to Class A West Virginia.