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April 19. 2014 10:58PM

On Baseball: Locke pitches game in minor league rehab

North Conway's Jeff Locke took another step toward a return to the Pittsburgh Pirates' starting rotation when he made his first appearance with the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians of the International League on Wednesday.

Locke allowed five runs on five hits in five innings during a 7-3 loss to the Louisville Bats. He struck out five and walked two.

Locke, 26, was placed on the disabled list earlier this spring because of a strained oblique. He was scheduled to start Tuesday against the Columbus Clippers, but poor weather pushed his start back by one day. Locke also made a rehab start for Bradenton of the Florida State League earlier this month.

"We still believe we've got a guy with quality major league pitches who gets ground balls," Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington told the Pittsburgh Tribune. "His challenge is finding consistency in the strike zone. He's going to help us at some point this season."

Locke, who attended Kennett High School in Conway, helped the Pirates earn their first playoff appearance since 1992 last season, when he went 10-7 with a 3.52 ERA in 30 starts. He went 2-5 with a 6.12 ERA after the all-star break and was shut down in September.

Locke was competing to earn a spot in Pittsburgh's starting rotation in spring training, but felt discomfort in his oblique following a Grapefruit League start against the New York Yankees on Feb. 27.

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According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Angels and Minnesota Twins have expressed interest in outfielder Sam Fuld, a former Durham resident who was designated for assignment by the Oakland A's on April 12.

Fuld, 32, is a career .233 hitter and has been with three major league teams: the Chicago Cubs, the Tampa Bay Rays and the A's. He had six hits in 30 at-bats with Oakland this season.

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Former Salem High School pitcher Terry Doyle picked up the win when the Birmingham Barons beat the Jacksonville Sun, 8-2, on April 12. Doyle (1-1, 5.23 ERA) allowed two runs on six hits and struck out five in 5 1/3 innings.

Birmingham is the Chicago White Sox Double-A affiliate in the Southern League.

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Nashua's Kevin Nolan entered Saturday's game against Pawtucket batting .400 (4 for 10) in three games since he was promoted from the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats to the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons on Wednesday.

Nolan, who is primarily a shortstop, has been playing second base for Buffalo.

Nolan was an Eastern League all-star last season.

Email staff writer Roger Brown at rbrown@unionleader.com


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