LOS ANGELES -- Jeff Locke knew the date and opponent he would face in his first start as soon as the Pirates told him he made the rotation. Since then, he has studied, watching to see what kind of lineups the Los Angeles Dodgers use in order to prepare himself for his outing today.
"I'm excited," Locke said. "I couldn't ask for anything more. I earned this, I put myself in this position to have this opportunity. It's all in my control now."
Locke will face Dodgers lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu, a Korean who signed with the Dodgers in December for $36 million over six years. He also will face a lineup featuring Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier. Locke, who made most of his starts in spring against tough lineups from the American League East, said he looked forward to the challenge and noted that some of the matchups play to his favor because Crawford, Gonzalez and Ethier bat left-handed.
Locke did not pitch the first time through the rotation because of a scheduled off day, but threw in an extended spring training game in Florida to stay sharp.
"At first, I just wanted to go out there to get some stuff done, and then I give up a home run, and it's ..." Locke smacked his fist into his palm.
"I feel competitive. I feel ready."
Charlie Morton, who is rehabilitating after Tommy John ligament replacement surgery in June, threw a 36-pitch bullpen session Friday. He is scheduled for two innings in an extended spring training game Monday.
Francisco Liriano (broken right humerus) threw 30 pitches over two innings of live batting practice Friday. He is scheduled to throw a bullpen session today and two innings in a simulated game Wednesday.
Jose Contreras (elbow surgery) threw 20 pitches Friday. He'll also throw a side session today and is scheduled for two innings in an extended spring training game Wednesday.
Jeff Karstens (shoulder inflammation) played catch Saturday. He currently does not have mound work scheduled.
The x-rays taken of Jeanmar Gomez's ribs after he took a line drive in the chest Friday night showed no damage, manager Clint Hurdle said. Both the Pirates' and Dodgers' medical staff examined Gomez, who recovered to make the catch.
"It is scary, because there's no leather, it's hit as hard as it can be hit and the first thing it hits is his rib cage," Hurdle said.
Former Pirates reliever Daniel McCutchen, who played in the organization from 2008-12 and is now in the Baltimore Orioles' organization, was suspended 50 games after testing positive for performance-enhancing substances, MLB announced Saturday.
McCutchen tested positive for Methenolone, an anabolic steroid, and a metabolite of Trenbolone, a powerful steroid originally intended for livestock.
A visit from Vin
Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully visited Hurdle in the clubhouse before the game last night, as he does every time Hurdle comes to Los Angeles. The two became acquainted when Hurdle was a player and Scully was broadcasting the national game of the week.
Hurdle was scratched from the New York Mets' lineup on a Friday when his oldest daughter was born. He played Saturday and hit a home run.
"His comment was, 'That'll buy some talcum powder for Ashley Lauren Hurdle,' " Hurdle said.
"I just called the man to thank him because that's a priceless memory for her for the rest of her life. From that year on, whether I've been a player, a coach or a manager, he comes down and we chat."
Bill Brink: firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @BrinkPG. First Published April 7, 2013 4:00 AM