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August 28. 2013 8:15PM

Pirates demote NH's Locke

Conway's Jeff Locke was optioned to Double-A Altoona by the Pittsburgh Pirates Wednesday.

According to a report on piratesprospects.com, Locke and recent call-up Tony Sanchez have been sent to Double-A Altoona to make room for newly acquired players Marlon Byrd and John Buck. who came over from the Mets.

The report indicates that the move is temporary and that was corroborated with a comment from Pirates general manager Neal Huntington.who hails from Milford.

"This move allows us to give Jeff a short break. It also allows a Tony Sanchez to get back to the major leagues as soon as the rules permit us to do so," Huntington told piratesprospects.com. "In addition, this gives us the opportunity to maintain a full roster until both Jeff and Tony can return to the club on Sept. 3. That is when the Double-A season is over and when the club intends to recall both players."

Had the players been sent to Triple-A Indianapolis, Pittsburgh would have had to wait 10 days before calling them up due to MLB rules.

Locke opened the season with a blistering pace and made the All-Star Game. Just after the mid-season classic, Locke was 9-2 with an ERA of 2.11.

But Locke has struggled since then, posting an ERA of 8.01 in August. He's lost two of his last seven starts, with the other five ending in a no decision for the 25-year-old lefty.

In that span, Locke has not been able to pitch beyond the sixth inning and was removed in the third on Aug. 17 against Arizona.


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