Adam Hunger / USA TODAY Sports

Bucs DFA Jeff Locke, sign RHP Lisalverto Bonilla

Left-handed pitcher Jeff Locke has been designated for assignment, the Pittsburgh Pirates announced on Tuesday evening. In a corresponding move, the club has signed free agent right-handed pitcher Lisalverto Bonilla.

Plagued by inconsistency, Locke went 35-38 with a 4.41 ERA over six seasons with the Pirates.

“Ultimately it’s just about where he is and where we are on the development curve, the arbitration curve and the resource-allocation curve,” general manager Neal Huntington said. “We certainly appreciate all the good games Jeff did throw with us and for us. There’s no question he certainly did some really good things, and he probably doesn’t get nearly enough credit for the good things he did.

“But as we start to move into the point in time where the arbitration curve is taking him to real and significant dollars … we had the very difficult decision that — despite looking for starting pitching — it was probably time to shift our focus and give others the opportunity.”

Bonilla, 26, spent this past season in the Los Angeles Dodgers' system. The right-hander went a combined 5-7 with two saves, a 1.34 WHIP and a 3.97 ERA in Double-A and Triple-A.

In 2014, Bonilla pitched in five games (three starts) for the Texas Rangers and went 3-0 with a 3.05 ERA. He missed the entire 2015 season because of a shoulder impingement and reconstructive elbow surgery.

Huntington indicated Bonilla will be given a chance to compete for a bullpen job during spring training. Bonilla has a minor league option left, so he could be sent to Triple-A Indianapolis.

“We'll develop him as a reliever, but we also have interest in him as a starter if we have that need,” Huntington said.

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