Taking precautions with oblique, Locke not worried

Taking precautions with oblique, Locke not worried

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Discussing the right-side tightness that knocked him out of his scheduled Wednesday start, left-hander Jeff Locke said that dreaded word, "oblique."

However, Locke sounded confident that while the discomfort is "in the oblique area," he sought treatment before it became a "six-to-eight week" issue.

Locke said he felt "a little pull on his right side" while throwing a bullpen over the weekend. He finished the session, then sought out the team's training staff.

"I've seen people do oblique stuff before, where they're so bad they can't even take a breath," Locke said. "That's not the case with me. Very minor. Nothing hurts at all. Precautionary more than anything; take a few days then re-evaluate.

"It's funny," he said. "I was just out there throwing normal, everyday stuff. And one thing I've heard is that, in the oblique area, it's usually the throwing side of the pitcher [that gets affected]. It could have been [caused by] coming out of a turn quickly, or not having stretched out enough."

Whatever the cause, Locke hopes for and needs a quick recovery. He knows he has to pitch to earn back the starting job that was taken away from him in mid-September.

"What bugs me the most is not being able to throw [Wednesday]. But I'd rather not be able to throw now than be unable in April or in June," he said. "It is the beginning of March; the last thing I want to do is find a way to set me back further."

Locke will continue to receive treatment on Thursday, and held out the possibility of trying to throw from the mound on Friday.

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.