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Conway's Jeff Locke named Pirates' fifth starter

Conway's Jeff Locke, a two-time New Hampshire Union Leader Player of the Year during his days at Kennett High School, will open the season as the Pittsburgh Pirates' fifth starter.

Selected by the Atlanta Braves in the second round of Major League Baseball's 2006 amateur draft and traded to Pittsburgh in 2009, Locke, 26, finished the past two seasons with the Pirates after opening the season in the minor leagues. He has appeared in 12 major-league games, starting 10 and compiling a 1-6 record with an ERA of 5.82.

Injuries to other candidates for the Pittsburgh rotation and a strong spring performance by Locke led to Wednesday's announcement that he would be one of three left-handers in the Pirates rotation, along with Wandy Rodriguez and Jonathan Sanchez. Right-handers A.J. Burnett and James McDonald round out the rotation.

"This was going to be a great day, either way," Locke told MLB.com. "I was going to find out where I'd open the season, and whether it was here or in Triple-A. Just knowing was going to help me get ready."

Locke has been Pittsburgh's top pitcher in spring-training play, with a 3.38 ERA in 21 1/3 innings.


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