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Jeff Locke makes Pirates' rotation; Vance Worley heads to bullpen

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Locke has made the Pirates' rotation, while Vance Worley will head to the bullpen. Both pitchers are out of options, and we knew that, Charlie Morton's health permitting, one of Locke and Worley was going to be in the rotation and one in the bullpen. But I'm surprised to hear that Locke will be the starter.

The Pirates know better than we do what to do with their pitchers. And nothing against Locke -- he deserves to be one of the 150 starters in a big-league rotation somewhere. This, to me, is about Worley, not about Locke. Worley now has to be the best healthy starter not in a rotation this side of Tanner Roark. He was nearly unfailingly effective last season, with a BB/9 so good that his floor when healthy would seem to be fairly high. Locke, meanwhile, has never done much to show he can be more than a fourth starter. Worley also got better results than Locke this spring.

But who knows. This could be a prelude to a trade -- it's probably easier to deal Locke in the next month if he stays on his schedule as a starter. Or it could be that there's something going on with Locke or Worley that we don't know about. There's also the fact that having Locke in the bullpen would give the Pirates three lefties, which is a little awkward, although I wouldn't think it would be so awkward that you'd rather keep a markedly better pitcher out of the starting rotation. On its face, this move doesn't make much sense yet.