Pirates scratch Locke's Sunday start

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All-Star pitcher Jeff Locke will miss his scheduled start Sunday and will not be available to pitch in Tuesday's Midsummer Classic after experiencing lower back tightness following his most recent outing.

The Pirates believe the injury to be minor and expect him to be available to pitch when the team returns from the All-Star break.

Gerrit Cole will pitch in Locke's place Sunday.

"He feels just a little bit off," manager Clint Hurdle said of Locke, who approached Hurdle and the team's athletic trainers a couple days ago to inform them of the discomfort. He pitched a scheduled bullpen session Friday but felt uncomfortable enough today that the Pirates scratched him from his start.

The team will have four off days during the break, and Locke is not scheduled to pitch again until July 21.

"To have the type of situation, the physical issue we have, we couldn't have had it at a better time to take care of it," Hurdle said.

Locke will still be able to attend the All-Star game in New York City.

"I just want to go and enjoy it," he said.

The team also announced their post-break starting rotation: Francisco Liriano will make the first start of the second half, followed by A.J. Burnett, Locke, Charlie Morton and Cole.

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Michael Sanserino: msanserino@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1722 and Twitter @msanserino.


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