PITTSBURGH — Tony Watson’s recent struggles have cost the Pittsburgh Pirates reliever his job as the team’s closer.

Manager Clint Hurdle said Friday he is “unplugging” Watson from the role following a pair of blown saves in Baltimore earlier this week.

Felipe Rivero and Juan Nicasio will share the closing duties for now. The last-place Pirates plan to use Watson in less stressful situations, hoping he can regain the form that made the team give him the job in the first place after trading away All-Star Mark Melancon last July.

Watson converted his first seven save opportunities this season, but has locked down just three of his last eight save chances. An All-Star as a setup man in 2014, Watson is 4-1 with a 4.14 ERA and has allowed six home runs in 26 1/3 innings.

Rivero, acquired from Washington when Melancon went to the Nationals, is 2-1 with a 0.58 ERA in 31 innings.


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