BRADENTON, Fla. -- Pirates left-hander Jeff Locke was looking forward to trying out his revamped windup, in which he brings his hands over his head, when he made his first Grapefruit League start March 2.It didn't work out that way.• Spring:Tickets | Ballpark | 40-man roster | NRIs"It was kind
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Pirates left-hander Jeff Locke was looking forward to trying out his revamped windup, in which he brings his hands over his head, when he made his first Grapefruit League start March 2.
It didn't work out that way.
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"It was kind of tough in the last outing. I had a new windup and the first guy of the game [Tigers center fielder Wynton Bernard] gets on and 25 minutes later, I was still in the stretch. You're not really getting to work on what you wanted to work on," he said after pitching three scoreless innings in Monday's 1-0 Grapefruit League loss to the Phillies at McKechnie Field.
And, yes, he was pleased with the way his new mechanics felt.
"It's coming along really well," he said. "It's just a matter of getting comfortable with this delivery and so far, it's going really well. But with the results being much better, it always makes you feel a little better, too."
Against the Tigers, Locke gave up four runs in the first and said he was never able to get settled. But he stressed that he felt fine physically.
He said it also helped that he had the same catcher, Chris Stewart, that he'd had five days earlier.
"I was fortunate to have Stew back there to give me some feedback from the outing to this outing," he said. "He just said we did a good job of getting ahead.
"Once I get to the top of my delivery, I'm kind of falling forward a little bit before I'm breaking my hands. All that stuff adds up to just having your arm catch up with your body. I did a much better job of staying back in this game. As the game progressed, we got a little more comfortable with every pitch. We were a lot more efficient, first-pitch strikes. Another step in the right direction."
Clint Hurdle also liked what he saw.
"The delivery through the windup has gotten better each time he's had the ball," the manager said. "He's comfortable taking his hands over his head."
Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com.