Jeff Locke was forced to skip his scheduled start on Wednesday for the Pittsburgh Pirates as a result of some discomfort that he felt in his right side. Everyone was hoping for some better results on Friday, when Locke took the mound to throw a bullpen session in front of the team’s coaches and trainers.
That outing didn’t last long, according to Tom Singer at MLB.com.
“It still didn’t feel right,” Locke said. “I didn’t see any point to keep throwing. So I stopped.”
Pittsburgh planned to re-evaluate Locke’s injury to determine the best course of action. It’s unclear when he’ll be able to get back on the mound.
The 26 year old left-hander is coming off a breakout season in 2013 for the Pirates. He’d make 30 starts for the team, totaling 166.1 IP in which he posted a 3.52 ERA, 1.383 WHIP, and just 7.9 H/9. Locke struggled in the latter half of the 2013 season, seeing his ERA rise to 6.52 following the All Star break. Singer notes that the dip in performance was believed to be a result of changes made to Locke’s routine inbetween starts (the result of a lower back issue he was coping with).
The Pirates will be counting on another season of strong performances from their starters if they are going to fight for a return trip to the postseason. Locke figured to be in competition with Charlie Morton and Edinson Volquez for the final spots in the team’s starting rotation, but the longer he’s unable to pitch the more likely it is that the latter two will begin the year in the mix for the Pirates.