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Pirates demote All-Star pitcher Jeff Locke to Double-A

Jeff Locke was optioned to Double-A after having a rough second half of the season. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) Jeff Locke was optioned to Double-A after having a rough second half of the season. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The Pittsburgh Pirates optioned struggling left-handed pitcher Jeff Locke to Double-A Altoona, the team announced Wednesday.

The Pittsburgh Tribune reports that Locke is not expected to pitch in any games for Altoona, but rest and throw on the side.

On July 21, Locke was 9-2 with a 2.11 ERA, but over his last six starts, Locke has an ERA of 8.10 and hitters are batting a ridiculous .388 off of him.  For the season, Locke is 9-4 with a 3.22 ERA with 110 strikeouts.

“This move allows us to give Jeff Locke a short break,” general manager Neal Huntington said in a statement. “It also allows Tony Sanchez to get back to the Major Leagues as soon as the rules permit us to do so. In addition, this gives us the opportunity to maintain a full roster until both Jeff and Tony can return to the club on September 3. That is when the Double-A season is over and when the club intends to recall both players.”

REITER: Pirates fans feel the angst -- and that's a good thing

The Pirates enter the day 76-55, 1.5 games behind the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Central.
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