Jeff Locke will be the starter for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday, Clint Hurdle announced today to the media. Locke will most likely be recalled after today’s game, and probably will only be needed for a spot start.
Locke got off to a late start this year with Indianapolis, after suffering an oblique injury in Spring Training. So far with the Indians, he has put up a 5.68 ERA in 19 innings. He does have an encouraging 17:5 K/BB ratio in that time, which is good since his biggest issue last year in the second half was a lack of control. He has given up four home runs, with all of them coming in the first two outings of the season.
The Pirates needed a spot starter on Monday, since Brandon Cumpton and Charlie Morton both pitched on Thursday. That means no one in the rotation would have been available on normal rest for Monday’s start. The only other option could have been Casey Sadler, although he pitched two innings on Friday, and hasn’t made a start since April 22nd. That left Locke as the only other option.
A corresponding move will be made when Locke gets officially recalled. I wouldn’t be surprised if that move is Sadler to the minors, so he can get back to being a starting pitcher, rather than another bullpen arm in the majors. He’d be good as a long reliever, but he has more value to the team this year as starting depth out of Triple-A.
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.
Everybody likes a good mystery. Yes his K/W rate is excellent and his GO/FO Rate is excellent, but he is getting hit pretty hard in the minors. I watched his first rehab start at Pirate City and he looked good throwing almost all fastballs over 3 or 4 innings. But, even if that is all he throws, he should have enough command to do so successfully, and that does not seem to be the case. I hope he does well enough to help the Pirates through this crunch where we have dwindling numbers of healthy pitchers, but I will not be surprised one way or another. If he has an umpire behind the plate who will call the inside corner, he may do well. If he is forced to “teacup” to get a strike, it is going to be a miserable experience.
Dwindling numbers of healthy pitchers,or should we say effective starting pitchers emjay ?
We definitley need a few stoppers, and I hope that Locke will get us a kick-start today.