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Pirates sign Lisalverto Bonilla, dfa Jeff Locke

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Well, Pirate fans won't have Jeff Locke to kick around any more.

The Pirates have announced in a press release that they've signed free agent right-hander Lisalverto Bonilla and designated Locke for assignment to clear roster space.

The 26-year-old Bonilla was a well regarded Phillies and Rangers prospect for several years and made his major league debut with the latter team in 2014.  He pitched well in 20-odd innings, albeit with control problems.  He missed the 2015 season due to Tommy John surgery.  He returned this year on a minor league contract with the Dodgers, posting a 3.97 ERA and 9.6 K/9 over 111 innings split between AA and AAA.  He became a free agent a few weeks ago.

The Pirates gave Bonilla a major league deal, with the terms as yet unknown.  He has two options left.  Bonilla has been primarily a reliever during his minor league career, but three of his five appearances with the Rangers in 2014 were starts and he divided his time between the two roles in 2016.  Prior to the surgery, Bonilla threw a fastball that averaged about 92 mph, along with a slider and change, with the latter at least potentially an out pitch.

Locke finally has come to the end of his time with the Pirates.  He finishes with a 35-38 record and 4.41 ERA in 644.1 IP over all or parts of six seasons with them.  He slipped badly to a 5.44 ERA in 2016, as the Pirates tried unsuccessfully to alter his mechanics.  He figured to get a raise in arbitration and obviously didn't attract interest as a trade candidate.