Jeff Locke of Conway will make his first rehab start in the International League with the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians today at 11:05 a.m. against the visiting Columbus Clippers.
Locke, who is coming off an oblique injury, wasn’t able to join the Pirates because their five-man rotation is already set.
Francisco Liriano, Gerrit Cole, Charlie Morton, Wandy Rodriguez and fifth starter Edinson Volquez are the starting five for the Pirates, who are off to a 6-6 start this season. Last Wednesday, Locke was impressive over six innings in a rehab start for Class A Bradenton. Given the clearance to throw a maximum of 100 pitches, Locke fired 82 pitches and allowed two runs and five hits. He walked one and struck out 10.
His start was impressive enough to promote him to Indianapolis.
“He’s going to start and pitch in (Indianapolis’) rotation,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He’ll make his starts. We’ll see where he can take it.”
The 26-year-old Locke had a topsy-turvy season last year as a starter for the Pirates.
He made the All-Star team as a rookie after starting the season 8-2 with a 2.15 ERA. He wasn’t able to pitch in the all-star game because of back stiffness.
But after the all-star break, things turned south for Locke. He was taken out of the rotation in September after he posted a 6.12 ERA and a 2-5 record over his next eight starts in the second half.