PITTSBURGH -- Tony Watson got his usual call in the Pirates' bullpen on Sunday.
Next weekend, he expects a different call: One that informs him that he has been selected to the National League All-Star team.
The Pirates' lefty relief ace has no assurances. But he does have the numbers -- a 0.96 ERA in 38 appearances following a typical perfect eighth inning against the Mets -- and also has his manager's pledge to lobby for him.
Since Clint Hurdle is on the NL's All-Star coaching staff, he will not have to go out of his way to bend manager Mike Matheny's ear.
"Skip said he would go to bat for me," said Watson. "I've got my flight back home [for the All-Star break], but I'll be happy to change the ticket."
Fans have few days remaining to cast their votes for starters at MLB.com -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday at 11:59 p.m. ET. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15 on FOX.
Of course, Watson is out of the fans' jurisdiction. As much as he would appreciate being able to get fans' votes, he admitted the votes he is anticipating mean even more.
"Pitchers can be selected only by other players or the manager," he noted. "Being selected that way would mean even more, make it more special."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.