Jeff Locke was pushed into the starting rotation on Monday at PNC Park so the club could get a good look at the young prospect as a starter. Locke made two relief appearances earlier last month with the Pirates and tossed a combined 4.1 scoreless frames in a role that he was unfamiliar with. But that experience allowed him to get his feet wet. Although the left-hander was a September callup last year, Locke is much more confident this season due to more experience at both Triple-A and in the Majors.
"I guess last year you deal with the nervousness, the anxiousness, the first time, all that stuff," Locke said. "Coming out of the bullpen this year was something I’ve never done before. To work in that scenario in those situations, and then being able to get in here and start a game [helped]…Everything felt really good today. I felt I did a lot of things good, a few things bad and they took advantage of it. Everything is going to be just fine."