Locke endures setback in return from ailing oblique

Locke endures setback in return from ailing oblique

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Two days after skipping a start with discomfort in his right oblique area, Pirates left-hander Jeff Locke took the mound Friday to test how he felt throwing.

He didn't stay on the mound long.

"It still didn't feel right," Locke said. "I didn't see any point to keep throwing. So I stopped."

While the Pirates traveled to Port Charlotte to meet the Rays, Locke planned to consult with the team's training staff, and possibly even a doctor to get an updated diagnosis and recommended course of action.

This is a disappointing setback for the 2013 National League All-Star, whose first and only exhibition outing had been encouraging regarding his prospects of bouncing back from a disappointing second half of the season. Facing the Yankees on Feb. 27, Locke had pitched one-hit shutout ball for two innings, with one strikeout.

Another red flag: Locke could be affected if, even after he resumes pitching, the tender right side causes him to cut back on his normal workout routine. Reducing his between-starts regimen following a lower-back issue was partly blamed for his 2-5, 6.52 ERA performance after the All-Star break.

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.