Pirates notebook: Morton placed on DL; backup infielder Morel recalled
WASHINGTON — The Pirates revealed that right-hander Charlie Morton has been battling a sore right hip since June.
The injury has not abated and Morton's performance has begun to suffer. Sunday, Morton went on the 15-day disabled list and Brent Morel was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis.
Why use an infielder to replace a starting pitcher? Manager Clint Hurdle offered three reasons:
• Morel can fill in if Neil Walker's achy back flares up again. “We have all kind of optimism that Walker's fully healthy, but we don't know (for sure),” Hurdle said.
• Morel can be a late-game defensive replacement for Pedro Alvarez at third base. Josh Harrison, who had supplanted Alvarez as the everyday third baseman, is filling in for injured Jordy Mercer (tight right forearm) at shortstop.
• Right-hander Gerrit Cole will come off the DL Wednesday to fill Morton's rotation spot. A corresponding move (perhaps a return-trip ticket to Indy for Morel) will be made then.
Whither d'Arnaud, Lambo?
The Pirates have three light-hitting backup infielders — Morel, Michael Martinez and Jayson Nix — on their bench.
Hurdle is aware some fans are wondering why Andrew Lambo and/or Chase d'Arnaud were not called up instead. He also knows that scouting from a distance by reading minor league box scores provides neither a full nor an accurate assessment of a player's potential at the big league level.
“I rely on the input from the Triple-A manager, the farm director, the roving coordinators,” Hurdle said.
Neither Lambo nor d'Arnaud figures in the Pirates' long-term plans. Management is curious to see what it has in Morel, who was claimed during spring training. Martinez and Nix are journeymen with significant major league experience.
Lambo and d'Arnaud have gotten chances to play in the majors. Lambo hit .233 with a .703 OPS in 18 games last year. D'Arnaud batted .208 with a .507 OPS in 56 games over 2011-12.
General manager Neal Huntington recently said the Pirates “have not been able to reach” d'Arnaud, who will be a free agent this winter. At Indy, d'Arnaud mostly is used as an outfielder.
“D'Arnaud has not spent much time on the dirt this year at second base or shortstop,” Hurdle said. “We need people who are able to perform right now and back up Walker and (help with) the challenges we have right now with Pedro.”
Lambo's natural position is outfielder. An attempt to switch him to first base during spring training did not go well.
“For what we need ... how much is (Lambo) going to play?” Hurdle said. “Do you want Lambo playing in front of (Travis) Snider? I don't. You want Lambo playing in front of (Gregory) Polanco? I don't. You want Lambo playing in front of (Starling) Marte? I don't. And he's not going to play first base in front of anybody right now.”
In a Facebook post, Gov. Tom Corbett nominated Walker and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee to take the “Ice Bucket Challenge,” an online fundraiser for the ALS Association to battle Lou Gehrig's Disease.
“I don't want to stiff the governor,” Walker said.
Walker also was challenged by former Penguins standout Rick Tocchet. Walker said he'll take the challenge — dumping a bucket of ice water over his head, then making a donation — this week in Pittsburgh.
Catcher Russell Martin took the challenge Saturday at Nationals Park. Someone joked that for a Martin, a native of frosty Canada, a bucket of cold water might not feel so bad.
“No, it still does,” Martin said with a laugh as he changed out of his soggy clothes.
Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates’ 5-game winning streak ends with 1-0 loss to Brewers
- WVU falls short against OU
- Valley News roundup: Kiski Area tops FR; Kittanning breaks streak
- WVU notebook: Mountaineers lose another cornerback
- Yemeni government and Houthi rebels reach agreement, U.N. envoy says
- Penguins’ Rutherford hopes to raise Cup again
- Economic powers at odds on stimulus as G20 gathers
- Venezuelan police chief freed from jail
- Authorities in California search for 5 jail escapees
- District college roundup: Buechel leads Duquesne past Monmouth
- Numbers down, but WPIAL teams boast top-notch golfers