Jeff Locke will start tonight for the Pittsburgh Pirates against the Atlanta Braves at PNC Park, and if Clint Hurdle's pregame comments to the media are any indication the Pirates are keeping an eye on the young pitcher with help coming to the starting rotation in the form of Francisco Liriano and Charlie Morton.
Francisco Liriano will start for Altoona on Saturday.
"(Locke) has continued to grow on people as you watch him develop," Hurdle said. "He' s even transformed his body. He's leaner, he's stronger. The velocity has picked up since we first got him. I remember when he came up in 2011 at the end of the season. What he knew about baseball compared to where he is now -- mindful of the game off the mound with a catcher respective to lineups -- he's in a good place. And our guys do know there's a clock ticking. "
Hurdle said Morton will pitch tonight for Bradenton with Liriano scheduled to start for Altoona on Saturday.
"Liriano's just jumped to double-A. He's going to be...
Tom Bragg is a beat writer and analyst for PiratesProspects.com. He is the former sports editor of the (Fairmont) Times West Virginian and has worked at the Charleston Gazette, Charleston Daily Mail and the (Ashland, Ky.) Independent. His freelance work has appeared in newspapers all over West Virginia and he has written for The Associated Press with stories posted to several major media outlets (ESPN.com, SportsIllustrated.com, FoxSports.com). Tom graduated from Marshall University in May 2010 with a degree in Print Journalism. Follow Tom on Twitter: @TomBraggSports