PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (93-7 THE FAN) —
In the first exhibition game of the 2013 season, lefty Jeff Locke set the bar pretty high in the battle for the fifth spot in the Pirates rotation in the Bucs’ 3-2 win at the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday afternoon at Charlotte Sports Park.
The 25-year-old retired eight of nine batters, struck out one and walked one while tossing 3.0 hitless innings.
Locke mixed in a two-seam fastball to left handers in an effort to try and get more ground ball outs. He was successful in preventing Rays’ hitters elevating the ball off of him.
The southpaw was also very efficient, throwing 33 pitches total in the three frames and threw “strike one” first to five of the nine batters he faced.
Sands has ability to play left field:
Manager Clint Hurdle mentioned that Jerry Sands, while a big, burly power hitter likely projects as a right field/first base type, also mentioned that he believes Sands is athletic enough to play left field.
PNC Park’s left field is more spacious than most, posing an added challenge at times, but Hurdle believes Sands is up for the task.
“I think he can cover the ground at PNC’s left field –I do,” said Hurdle.
Listen to Manager Clint Hurdle’s entire post-game press conference after the Pirates below:
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