PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN) -- The New York Yankees beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-2 in Bradenton on Thursday as Jeff Locke gave up five earned runs over 5 innings. Locke said while he made some mistakes, he felt like he pitched really well. The biggest challenge was with the breaking ball.
"I was real happy to get through 5 innings, that the ultimate goal is to build up the endurance," Locke said. "I know you'll hear Ray (Searage) and tons of people say all the time you can't get too consumed with the results, even when they are good, you can't get too consumed by them. You just have to keep moving forward and keep getting better. We have a couple of weeks left here to sharpen the tools and get where we need to be."
Locke is 0-3 this Spring with a 7.07 ERA, striking out eight and walking four.
"I thought he's still working on things and still work to do," said manager Clint Hurdle. "He's focused and he's working hard."
Hurdle said on Wednesday that he will consider Juan Nicasio for the starting rotation, as he hasn't given up a run over ten innings and struck out 16. Locke isn't concerned about losing his spot.
"No absolutely not. If that's the route they decide to go, no one is pitching better. You could say at this point, who's spot couldn't he (Nicasio) take?"
For the second straight day, a lineup shift for Hurdle. Andrew McCutchen moved up to the second spot with John Jaso ahead of him and David Freese behind him. McCutchen has hit the majority of his career in the 3-spot and said he had no issue with the decision.
"I told Andrew the challenge for me is that for 47 years the baddest dude in the game hits third," Hurdle said. "That started to flip a few years ago as you look at it and it makes some sense."
Hurdle said the metrics show you want to have your best three hitters batting lead-off, second and clean-up.
"Of all the different metric analysis we put out there and worked through this Winter before we went into the Spring, that two spot came up a lot for him to look at," Hurdle said. "It makes sense. It's real."
Hurdle hasn't determined if he will bat McCutchen there in the regular season, adding they continue to look at different lineup configurations.
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