PITTSBURGH -- Jeff Locke's return to the PNC Park mound could be only a couple days away. Due to Thursday's late afternoon doubleheader, the Pirates will need a spot starter for Monday against the Giants -- unless they want to bring back either Charlie Morton or Brandon Cumpton on short rest.
That's not going to happen, even though Morton, who has started once on three days' rest, features the sinker ball, a pitch said to become more effective when thrown with a slightly-tired arm. However, he is less than a year into his comeback from Tommy John surgery, so the Bucs are not going to push him.
Locke started Thursday night for Triple-A Indianapolis at Pawtucket, but was removed after two innings.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said the club is "possibly" considering the 2013 National League All-Star for the Monday night assignment.
"It's giving us another option to look towards," Hurdle said of Locke's early hook. "But it's far from having been decided."
Locke has hardly been doing irresistible work with the Indians. In four starts, including the abbreviated outing, he has allowed 12 earned runs and 24 hits in 19 innings, with five walks and 17 strikeouts.
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.