Pirates notebook: Locke still fighting for spot in rotation
BRADENTON, Fla. — Left-hander Jeff Locke, who is fighting for a spot in the Pirates' rotation, pitched from the stretch and behind in the count more than he wanted against the Orioles but allowed only two runs in 3 1⁄3 innings Monday.
“At the end of the day, he was able to walk away and we were still in the game,” manager Clint Hurdle said.
Locke struggled with leaving high fastballs over the plate, and the Orioles pounced on them for eight hits including a home run, but the 25-year-old was encouraged by his ability to incorporate more of his pitches into the outing.
“(Monday) was a good day for feeling my pitches out,” he said. “I threw a lot of two-seamers, both sides of the plate, so I'm getting more comfortable with that. My changeup was as good as it's been this spring, and the curveball's coming along well, too, so I'm happy with everything so far.”
Locke, who was the 2012 minor league pitcher of the year after going 10-5 with a 2.48 ERA, is 2-1 with a 4.05 ERA in four starts this spring.
“I think I just have to keep attacking guys at this point,” he said. “When the time comes to bring the team north, they're going to bring the best players that are going to give the team the chance to win every night. I have to just keep going out and be myself and do the things I do well.”
Starling has been sterling
Starling Marte, projected to be the Pirates' leadoff man, started in the top spot again and went 1 for 2. Marte went into the game batting .364 (8 for 22) in his first nine games with three triples, six runs scored, two walks, four strikeouts and three stolen bases.
“I think he has the tools to be a very dynamic leadoff hitter, and you have to love the swing,” Hurdle said. “He's showing also some maturity and a little slower heartbeat when he gets on base now. He's going to be a fun player to watch grow.”
Jeff Karstens (biceps) threw another bullpen session Monday, and his next step will be to pitch two innings in a game at Pirate City. ... Garrett Jones (oblique) increased his activity to include swinging the bat and fielding grounders and said he hopes to be ready to return to game action Thursday.
The Pirates game against the Washington Nationals on May 4 has been changed from a 7:05 p.m. start to a 4:05 p.m. start and will be televised nationally on FOX. Because of the change, there will no longer be postgame fireworks.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Starkey: Searage, Pirates ultra-confident
- Maddon, Hurdle are the models for modern major-league managers
- Pirates notebook: Huntington weighs whether wild-card round should be expanded
- Cubs’ youth movement pays dividends, leads to postseason berth
- Pirates will play NL wild-card game at PNC Park after shutting out Reds
- Pirates standout CF McCutchen no longer needs to carry team
- Burnett pitches well in farewell, but Pirates lose to Reds