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MLB notebook:

Associated Press

Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Jeff Locke will sit out next week’s All-Star Game because of stiffness in his lower back.

Locke will also skip his scheduled start today against the New York Mets. Rookie Gerrit Cole will start in Locke’s place.

The 25-year-old Locke says he felt some discomfort toward the end of his seven innings in a 2-1 loss to Oakland on Tuesday night. Locke said the symptoms lingered into Wednesday and flared up again during a weightlifting session. He will travel to New York for the All-Star festivities but will not be available to play Tuesday night.

Manager Clint Hurdle says barring a setback Locke’s next start will come on Sunday, July 21 against Cincinnati.

The left-hander is 8-2 with a 2.15 ERA in 18 starts this season for the Pirates.

Astros lock up Altuve

The low-budget Astros have made an investment in their future, signing second baseman Jose Altuve to a four-year contract through 2017.

Altuve’s deal with Houston announced Saturday covers his arbitration-eligible years and includes club options for 2018 and 2019. If the options aren’t exercised, he would be eligible for free agency after the 2017 season.

The 23-year-old Altuve was an All-Star in 2012. He is hitting .280 with three homers and 28 RBI this season.

Red Sox add Thornton to bullpen

The Boston Red Sox acquired reliever Matt Thornton and cash from the Chicago White Sox in exchange for minor-league outfielder Brandon Jacobs. To make room for Thornton on the 40-man roster, Andrew Miller was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.

Miller is expected to have surgery to repair a damaged left foot ligament and likely will be out for the season.

Thornton is 0-3 with a 3.86 ERA with the White Sox, who called up left-hander Donnie Veal from Triple-A Charlotte.

Around the leagues

The Chicago Cubs claimed outfielder Cole Gillespie off waivers from the San Francisco Giants. … Brett Lawrie was activated from the 15-day disabled list by the Toronto Blue Jays after missing almost two months with a left ankle sprain. The Blue Jays optioned infielder Munenori Kawasaki to Triple-A Buffalo. … The Atlanta Braves recalled outfielder Jose Constanza from Triple-A Gwinnett.


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