Pirates starting pitcher Morton is 'way ahead' in his injury rehab
By Karen Price
Published: Monday, March 11, 2013, 8:42 p.m.
BRADENTON, Fla. — As Charlie Morton took the mound at Pirate City to face his first hitter in more than nine months, he wasn't thinking about what he'd throw or how he'd feel.
“The day before surgery I got lunch in Pensacola with my wife,” Morton said. “That's what I thought about. (Throwing live batting practice) just didn't feel that far removed from the last time I did it.”
The Pirates' right-hander threw 12 pitches — all fastballs — to two different batters in his first live batting practice since the season-ending surgery June 14, 2012. Jim Benedict, special assistant to general manager Neal Huntington, observed the session and said that Morton is “way, way ahead” of where he should be physically.
The emphasis right now, Morton said, is on continuing to do everything mechanically and physically correct before he starts incorporating the competitive side of pitching. He and Benedict have worked during the rehabilitation process to simplify his pitching motion and reduce stress on his elbow.
Morton was playing in pain periodically for three or four years. There were times when the pain would go away, but it always came back. He was hurting last season after his return from offseason hip surgery, but the symptoms also weren't typical of an ulnar collateral ligament tear, he said.
“My velocity didn't go down substantially; I was still throwing between 87 and 91 or 92 (mph), and my control didn't really suffer,” he said. “My control in the zone suffered, but it wasn't like I was spraying balls left and right and putting them off the backstop. It just … hurt. When they told me there was something wrong I wasn't surprised. I was actually relieved. I knew what was causing the pain and the discomfort.”
Morton had 11 bullpen sessions before Monday's batting practice. With a projected recovery period of at least 12 months, rehabilitation has taught him to focus on what needs to be done that day and nothing more.
“(Morton) has just given it everything he has and put himself in a position to be successful, and we're working to allow him to continue to grow and develop and come back and be ready to help us,” Huntington said. “You start adding Francisco Liriano and Charlie Morton to the club at some point this spring or summer ... those are two pretty good additions for us, and our hope is that we're going to have some very challenging decisions to make as they're ready to go.”
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.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.