Jeff Locke not starting Sunday due to back tightness, will not pitch in All-Star Game

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Pirates left-hander Jeff Locke felt some back tightness following his most recent start on Monday, so Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that he will not start tomorrow against the Mets and will also skip Tuesday’s All-Star Game.

Gerrit Cole will start in Locke’s place tomorrow. The good news is that the back issue isn’t considered serious and he should be good to go after the All-Star break. He isn’t slated to pitch again until July 21, so he’ll go 12 days between starts.

Locke has been a nice surprise for the Pirates this season, posting a 2.15 ERA and 73/47 K/BB ratio in 109 innings over 18 starts. The 25-year-old is on pace to easily surpass the 175 2/3 innings he threw between the majors and minors last year, so the back issue is a convenient way to get him some extra rest in preparation for what should be an interesting second half for Pittsburgh.

The Phillies are considering making a play for Jake Arrieta

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Jon Heyman reports that the Phillies are considering free agent starter Jake Arrieta.

That may seem kind of weird on the surface given that the Phillies, as Heyman notes, are considered to be at least a year from contention. Thing is, though, we really never know for sure when a team will definitely be in contention, do we? We’ve seen a handful of teams’ rebuilding efforts bear competitive fruit ahead of schedule in recent years, including the current World Series champion Houston Astros. They made the dang playoffs a year after losing 92 games, when everyone thought their true competitive window was several years away. Arrieta’s Cubs were much the same way, improving by 24 wins in 2015 to make the playoffs, in large part because of . . . acquiring Jake Arrieta.

Whether Arrieta, who is coming off of a 14-10, 3.53 ERA season, would be interested in the Phillies is unknown, but if I’m a Phillies fan, I’m happy that my club is being aggressive and is at least considering it.