LOS ANGELES -- Jeff Locke has spent a couple of Septembers in the big leagues with the Pirates. April, however, is an entirely different jungle.
And the freshman left-hander -- no longer a rookie, missing that status by one inning -- is geared up for Sunday's start, his first as an official, confirmed, notarized member of the Bucs rotation.
"I'm ready to go, excited to go out and compete again as part of the regular 25-man roster. First road trip. Dodger Stadium," Locke said. "I just want to go out there and perform, and impress."
But, first, had had a chance to do some homework. On Friday night, Locke got to study how another left-hander, veteran Jonathan Sanchez, attacked a lineup similar to the one he will be facing.
Asked whether he could get anything out of seeing Sanchez operate, Locke said, "One-hundred percent. That's something I'm excited for, to watch Sanchez go out there. I haven't had a whole lot of opportunity to see him throw anyway."
Manager Clint Hurdle also saw the benefit of having Locke follow Sanchez.
"One of the things we took into consideration was Sanchez's familiarity with the park and many of the players," Hurdle said, referring to Sanchez's six years pitching for the Dodgers' National League West rival Giants from 2006-11. "Locke can watch the sequences, the swings, and read the hitters. There is something to pick up. I'm expecting there will be a lot of opportunity to learn watching the game tonight."
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.