Stephen Fife was given a chance to join the Dodgers' rotation at the beginning of June, and he has taken advantage of it so far.
Fife, who will take the mound for Friday's series opener in Pittsburgh, has allowed just three earned runs while recording 12 strikeouts in 12 innings during two outings this month. Fife pitched well in Spring Training but did not get the chance to join the Major League rotation until other starters became injured.
The 26-year-old right-hander made five big league starts last season and one mediocre one this April (four runs in 4 2/3 innings against the Orioles), but he said he's learned a lot in the process.
"I'm trying to bed down the mechanics that the Dodgers organization has aided me in finding," Fife said. "I think just with repetition and experience you just start to get a little better each time out. I'm definitely executing the fastball better and staying down in the zone longer."
Meanwhile, lefty Jeff Locke will get the start in the series opener for the Pirates, subbing for staff ace A.J. Burnett, who was scratched from Friday's start and placed on the disabled list due to a right calf strain.
On Sunday against the Cubs, Locke allowed just one run on one hit in 5 2/3 innings for a no-decision. However, he did walk seven batters.
"Once the game started, nothing really worked," Locke said after the start. "I was hoping they'd hit it at somebody."
Locke hasn't lost since his season debut and hasn't given up more than three earned runs in a start since April 18. He's also allowed just 11 earned runs in 59 2/3 innings since that April 18 outing.
Pirates: Rib-cage discomfort sidelines Marte
Starling Marte was a late scratch from the Pirates' lineup Thursday against the Giants because of discomfort in his left rib-cage area.
Alex Presley replaced Marte both in left field and in the leadoff spot. Marte is listed by the club as day to day.
Marte went 4-for-5 in the Bucs' 12-8 victory Wednesday night, moving his average up 10 points, to .289.
Dodgers: Puig scratched from lineup with strained shoulder
Yasiel Puig was scratched from the Dodgers' lineup Wednesday night against the D-backs because of a strained right shoulder.
Puig, who has captured the nation's attention after hitting .471 with four homers and 10 RBIs in his first nine Major League games, warmed up with the team, but left the field after taking just a handful of swings during batting practice. The right fielder was also involved in the Dodgers' benches-clearing brawl with the D-backs on Tuesday night. He threw some punches and was one of five players ejected from the contest.
However, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he was not sure how Puig injured his shoulder.
"Yasiel was a little sore," Mattingly said Wednesday. "I'm not sure what all that was from."
Puig did make a late entrance in the 12th inning Wednesday night, playing right field and hitting a single and scoring a run in the bottom of the frame.
• Pirates outfielder Jose Tabata (oblique strain) has begun light running and throwing drills and could go on a rehab assignment in about a week.