It’s official: Morton DL-bound
Right-hander Charlie Morton’s inability to reach his target of pitches in Wednesday night’s start confirmed the Pirates’ intent to have him begin the season on the disabled list.
General manager Neal Huntington formally laid out plans for Morton, who had hoped to make 90 pitches against the Rays but left the game after 75 pitches and five innings, during which he allowed six runs and eight hits.
Morton’s surgery to repair the torn labrum in his left hip was on October 10, and his prognosis for full recovery from that procedure was estimated at six months. He’ll hit the six-month mark on April 10 — a few days before the Pirates would need a fifth starter in back of the season-opening rotation of Erik Bedard, Jeff Karstens, James McDonald and Kevin Correia.
Conceding Morton’s tremendous progress to reach this point, Huntington and on-field personnel have mapped out an agenda for him to reach game-ready condition.
Morton will stay behind in Florida to pitch a simulated game on Wednesday. He will join the club for the next afternoon’s Opening Day festivities in PNC Park, then make a start with the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians on April 9 before being re-evaluated.
“We saw he was very clean early (in the Wednesday night start against the Rays), and the one inning (the fourth, when he faced seven batters) kind of fatigued him, and he wasn’t as sharp,” said manager Clint Hurdle. “He has more work to do. Guys gotta go through certain periods. A side isn’t the same as a game. He’s got to find that ability to be stronger, to repeat his deliveries.”