Former Nebraska pitcher Tony Watson has received his first call-up to the Major Leagues, as the Pittsburgh Pirates placed the left hander on their active roster Tuesday afternoon. Watson's call-up gives the Huskers six players in Major League Baseball this season, including five who are currently on rosters.
A native of Grimes, Iowa, Watson was drafted by the Pirates organization in the ninth round of the 2007 MLB Draft and has spent the past five years in Pittsburgh's farm system. Playing this season with AAA Indianapolis, Watson has produced a 2-3 record with a 2.45 ERA while holding opponents to a .179 batting average out of the bullpen. He was 6-4 with a 2.67 ERA last season with AA Altoona.
Watson was a three-year letterwinner for the Huskers and helped lead NU to three straight NCAA Regionals and a College World Series appearance. He had a 22-7 career record at Nebraska and finished on the school's top-10 lists in wins (sixth), innings pitched (244.0, 10th) and starts (35, 10th). As a junior in 2007, Watson earned second-team All-Big 12 honors as he went 6-4 with a 4.09 ERA while ranking first in the league in complete games (two) and innings pitched (99.0).
Watson is the 28th Husker in school history to reach the Major Leagues, and he joins Joba Chamberlain (New York Yankees), Brian Duensing (Minnesota Twins), Alex Gordon (Kansas City Royals) and Zach Kroenke (Arizona Diamondbacks) as former NU baseball players currently in Major League Baseball. All five were teammates on the 2005 Nebraska squad that won a school-record 57 games and reached the College World Series.
Pittsburgh hosts a three-game series against Kroenke's Arizona Diamondbacks beginning Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m.