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July 06. 2013 7:41PM

On Baseball: Conway's Jeff Locke is an All-Star


Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Jeff Locke (49) looks on from the dugout against the Philadelphia Phillies during the fourth inning at PNC Park on July 4. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

CONWAY'S Jeff Locke is headed to his first MLB All-Star Game.

The 25-year-old rookie starting pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates was named to the National League All-Star roster Saturday and will participate in the game in New York on Tuesday, July 16 at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets.

Locke is 8-1 with a 2.12 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 102 innings pitched. He has not lost since his first start of the season, winning eight consecutive decisions.

Locke is second in the MLB in ERA, trailing only Clayton Kershaw (1.93) of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Locke is scheduled to start Monday at home against Oakland.
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ONE SOX STARTER: On the American League side, DH David Ortiz was the lone starter voted in from the Red Sox.

Second baseman Dustin Pedroia and injured starting pitcher Clay Buchholz were named as reserves.

Red Sox relief pitcher and current closer Koji Uehara is among five nominees for the Final Vote award. The player who receives the most votes at mlb.com will be selected as the final player on the roster.
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BRETT LAWRIE IN TOWN: Toronto Blue Jays starting third baseman Brett Lawrie will continue his injury rehab with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats today and possibly Monday as well.

Lawrie, 23, has been on the 15-day disabled list since May 28 with a sprained left ankle suffered sliding into second base. In his first four games of rehab with Class A Lansing, Lawrie was 3-for-11 with a double, a walk, and one RBI.

"So far, so good. The ankle feels a lot better than it used to. Even when I was starting to come back and begin my rehab it was still bugging me a little bit," said Lawrie, who started at DH for the Fishers Saturday night against Binghamton. "It was a high ankle sprain and it was a bad one. It's important for me to get my reps and trust that it's fine and I do."

Fisher Cats manager Gary Allenson said that he spoke with Lawrie to find out if he had any limitations and that he expected Lawrie to play third base today.

"I'm the one that sends him from second (base) to home, first to home, so I have to know ahead of time if he's not a hundred percent," Allenson said.

Due to two different injuries, British Columbia native Lawrie has played just 37 games with Toronto this year, hitting .209 with five home runs and 14 RBIs. Last year he batted .273 with 26 doubles and 11 home runs in 125 games.

"I remember a time when I could play 152 games in the minor leagues. You're so out of control of injuries. These little things just happen and snowball," Lawrie said. "I just want to be able to put consistent games together and play three months in a row."

The Blue Jays have made it clear they are not in a hurry for Lawrie to head north. Getting him back in game shape and ready to face MLB pitching is the priority and taking it slow has taken some getting used to for Lawrie.

"It's frustrating because I want to play. I hate sitting in Florida and waking up every day and hoping it's going to be better and it's not," Lawrie said. "For a guy who has trouble sitting in the same place for five seconds, not being able to do anything was frustrating. I was in a walking boot for a week. It took its time. I didn't think it was going to take that long."

Lawrie's competitive nature has gotten him in trouble. His injury came the day after he got into a verbal altercation with Toronto teammates. In 2012 he was suspended for four games after throwing his helmet (which struck umpire Bill Miller in the arm) after a called third strike.

But the rehab stint could be good for Lawrie, who has found himself with minor leaguers his own age who look up to him for his MLB experience.

"Those guys (in Lansing) are grinding in a real small city and they don't know what Double-A and Triple-A are like," He said. "To go down and share what I've been through, pitchers I've faced, it's cool. It's good to be with the boys, especially since those guys are all my age."WALDEN ADDED TO EL ALL STAR GAME: Fisher Cats pitcher Marcus Walden has been named a 2013 Eastern League All-Star, replacing New Hampshire teammate Sean Nolin, who will not be able to participate due to his regularly scheduled start with the Fisher Cats on Monday.

Ian Clark is a staff writer with the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email is iclark@unionleader.com.


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