Left-hander Jeff Locke is recovered from an oblique injury and off the disabled list, but rather than adding him to the active roster the Pirates have demoted him to Triple-A.
Locke made the All-Star team as a (not quite technically) rookie last season after starting 8-2 with a 2.15 ERA, but posted a 6.12 ERA in the second half and was dumped from the rotation in September.
Pittsburgh just doesn’t have room for him in the rotation, as Francisco Liriano, Gerrit Cole, Charlie Morton, and Wandy Rodriguez aren’t going anywhere and Edinson Volquez was signed for $5 million to fill the fifth spot. And while going from rookie All-Star to Triple-A in less than a year is extreme, Locke never projected as a front-end starter, didn’t have the peripheral numbers to match his fast start last year, and is already 26 years old.
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Free agent right-hander Henderson Alvarez signed a deal with the Tigres de Quintana Roo of the Mexican Baseball League earlier this week, FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Friday. The righty wasn’t necessarily too fringey a player to hack it in the big leagues, but there were no MLB takers in attendance during his showcase in Venezuela last month and he clearly felt it best to try his luck elsewhere.
The 27-year-old’s last major league gig came with the Phillies, for whom he delivered a 4.30 ERA, 6.8 BB/9 and 3.7 SO/9 over 14 2/3 innings in 2017. While he’s not too far removed from his first and only All-Star bid in 2014, he was besieged by shoulder issues in 2015 and 2016 and underwent season-ending surgeries as a result.
That added injury risk, coupled with the fact that he hasn’t pitched more than 22 innings in a single season since 2014, may have been too much for major league teams to take on this spring. Assuming he steers clear of further injuries, however, a return to the majors may not be entirely out of the question in years to come.