PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Jeff Locke pitched three scoreless innings without allowing a hit in the Pirates' 3-2 win against the Rays today. He walked one and struck out one, throwing 19 of his 32 pitches for strikes.
When asked what his goals were for the start, he said: “I didn’t want anybody else to come in and finish my inning for me. I just wanted to go out there and get my work in for today.”
He said spending time in Florida throwing over the winter helped him reach the point where he can pitch three innings without an issue on the first start in spring training.
"He was very efficient today," Clint Hurdle said. "It was a very good outing for him. Very encouraged that he was able to get out for the third inning and then finish it off as well."
Hurdle and Ray Searage will use pitch counts rather than innings this spring to determine how long their starters work. The starters will have 35 to 40 pitches to work with at first.
***Travis Snider put the Pirates in the positives as far as good decisions on the base paths. Advancing from first to second after a ground ball to first eliminated the force, he slowed, allowing the run to score from third.
Speaking about that and a nice defensive effort from Josh Harrison, Hurdle said, "Those are situations last year that I'm not so sure we would have handled the same way.
"They're holding themselves to a very high level of execution."
***Darren Ford went 2 for 2 with a stolen base and an RBI but lost a ball in the sun in center field that turned into a two-run double.
The lineup for Sunday's game against the Braves looks like Hurdle's taking a crack at the opening day lineup, against lefties at least. But they're facing Braves righty Julio Teheran.
1. Marte 7
2. Martin 2
3. McCutchen 8
4. Alvarez 5
5. Walker 4
6. Sanchez 3
7. Inge DH
8. Tabata 9
9. Barmes 6
James McDonald will start, followed by Jonathan Sanchez, Tony Watson, Justin Wilson, Jason Grilli, Jared Hughes and Ryan Reid.
Hurdle previously said Mark Melancon was going to pitch Sunday, but he was not listed in today's game notes as scheduled for Sunday. Today, Hurdle said all his pitchers with the exception of Jeff Karstens, Francisco Liriano and Charlie Morton are healthy, and that if Reid didn't pitch Saturday he would pitch Sunday, so maybe Melancon was bumped to Monday.
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