PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – During his time in Pittsburgh, former Pirate starting pitcher AJ Burnett took Jeff Locke under his wing, now the mentor and mentee will face off pitching for opposing teams.
Locke talked with Dan Zangrilli of 93-7 The FAN about facing his former teammate and what it will be like.
“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Locke said. “No different than any other game, I know AJ’s going, no different than I’m going for us. It’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m sure there’s a lot more pressure on him than there is me.”
And as to how he expects the former Pirate to be received by the fans?
“I don’t see why he shouldn’t be received as extremely well for the contributions he made to the team over the last two years, especially the big turn around we had last season getting back to the playoffs,” Locke told Zangrilli. “You’re not there if it’s not for AJ. Collectively, it took everybody that it took. I think he should be received well, you never really know for sure. I don’t see why anybody would boo him.”
When it comes to the trade rumors that have the Pirates reportedly interested in the acquiring Burnett from the Phillies, Locke talked about what it would mean to him and the team to have Burnett back.
“I know everybody would welcome it, would openly welcome it,” Locke said. “I didn’t think I knew how things would be really, a year without AJ here. No matter what his name is, or if he played for us or not, or what the guys like or who he is, it doesn’t take away from the fact that he’s still one of the best right-handed pitchers in all of baseball.”
Click the audio link below to hear more from Locke on what it would mean to him for the Pirates to trade for his former mentor as well as what the difference has been for him from the second half of last year to now.