Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Jeff Locke will skip his start on Sunday and will not pitch in the All-Star Game due to lower back tightness, the left-hander told members of the media on Saturday, including David Manel of Bucs Dugout.
Locke first experienced the discomfort late in his start on Monday against the Oakland Athletics. The back injury lingered throughout the week and flared up during a recent workout session, prompting the Pirates to skip his start. Gerrit Cole will start on Sunday in place of Locke.
The 25-year-old discussed missing his start and the All-Star Game, telling the Associated Press:
"The only thing I'm disappointed about is not being able to go [Sunday] It's not one of those things where I can't go [Sunday] but I can go in the All-Star Game. I think it'd be disrespectful to the team. I don't think it's even questionable ... I'll just go there and enjoy it and come back after the break."
Locke will still travel to New York for the All-Star festivities, but will not participate in the game. He is expected to make his next start on July 21 against the Cincinnati Reds.
The southpaw emerged from Spring Training as the Pirates fifth starter and has flourished in the role, going 8-2 with a 2.15 ERA over 18 starts.