05/23/12 4:48 PM ET
Hernandez finally makes first big league start
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
Locke's stay brief as Grilli returns to bullpen
PITTSBURGH -- All left-hander Jeff Locke got out of his brief return to the Major Leagues was a skipped start. As Jason Grilli came off the Pirates' bereavement list on Wednesday, Locke was optioned back to Triple-A Indianapolis, where he'll jump back into the Indians' rotation.Locke had joined the Bucs' bullpen on Sunday in Detroit, but there were really never any plans to use him in a typical short relief role, something out of his milieu. Three Pittsburgh starters during Locke's stay averaged six innings, taking him out of play. "Jeff was here for a [long-relief] role that never presented itself. We were not going to use him situationally," manager Clint Hurdle said. Locke was due for his ninth start the day he was called up. He was to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday, then get back into the spin of the Indy rotation. He has a record of 3-3, with a 3.02 ERA.
First Social Media Night of season Friday
PITTSBURGH -- The Bucs' first Social Media Night of the season on Friday will offer fans a chance to buy discounted tickets to that night's game against the Cubs and be part of a special pregame reception.Fans can participate by either following the Bucs at @Pirates or liking the team's official Facebook page (www.facebook.com/pirates). Those doing so can get $10 off outfield box seats for the game. Qualifying fans will also gain entry into the pregame reception, at which they will receive a free Pirates T-shirt, be eligible for prizes and giveaways, and take in appearances by club executives and broadcasters. Fans can obtain full details on the event at pirates.com/socialmedia.
Yet another offensive area in which the Pirates need major improvement is pinch-hitting. Their pinch-hitters entered Wednesday's game an NL-worst 7-for-51 (.137), and the two most frequent pinch-hitters (Nate McLouth and Yamaico Navarro) were hitless in 22 combined at-bats. Best? Casey McGehee, 3-for-6. Since dropping the first five road games of the season, the Pirates haven't lost more than two straight, a stretch of games that reached 36 on Wednesday. The only two other clubs in the Majors to not have lost more than two straight since April 14 are the Braves and the Dodgers. But in the interim neither have the Bucs won more than three in a row (May 12-14). Clint Barmes had his second two-hit game in the last four Wednesday, and is 5-for-11 in those games.
Jason Grilli, back from the bereavement list, fanned the side in the eighth, giving him 30 strikeouts in 17 innings this season.
Josh Harrison (1-for-4) stretched his hit streak to nine games, but Rod Barajas couldn't keep up as his ended at eight.
The Last Word: "Seriously, now I've got to start thinking about giving the kid a day off." -- Clint Hurdle on Harrison, who began the season looking for playing time, but has become a lineup fixture
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.