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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Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.
Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.
Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.