Jeff Locke wins job as Pirates’ No 5 starter

Left-hander Jeff Locke has won the competition to be the

Pittsburgh Pirates’ No. 5 starter.

Locke beat out Kyle McPherson, who was optioned to Triple-A

Indianapolis on Wednesday, and Jeanmar Gomez, who will begin the

season in the Pirates’ bullpen. Gomez is out of minor league

options and would have had to clear waivers to be sent down.

”We had extremely challenging decisions,” general manager Neal

Huntington said. ”We didn’t have clear separation on a number of

fronts, but we still made decisions we feel good about.”

Alex Presley, the Pirates’ opening-day left fielder and leadoff

hitter last season, was optioned to Indianapolis. Presley hit .304

in spring training but has one option remaining. The Pirates kept

outfielder Jose Tabata, who struggled last season but who is out of

options.

Infielder Jordy Mercer was optioned to Indianapolis and

relievers Mike Zagurski, Ryan Reid and Vin Mazzaro were reassigned

to the team’s minor league camp along with catchers Carlos Paulino

and Lucas May, and outfielder Felix Pie.

Utility infielder Josh Harrison would get the final bench spot

if Brandon Inge’s injured shoulder keeps him from being able to

start the season.