Pirates notebook: Morton could be back in early June
• What if the Pirates could add a pitcher with a 96-mph fastball and a four-pitch mix to their rotation? If all goes according to plan, the Pirates will do just that in two weeks. Charlie Morton (shoulder) made his second rehab start at Double-A Altoona on Tuesday, and the results were encouraging. The right-hander threw 4 2⁄3 innings, and his fastball was between 90-96 mph, according to manager Clint Hurdle. Morton is scheduled to throw 90 pitches in a rehab start with Triple-A Indianapolis on Sunday and 100 pitches in a final rehab start on May 31. If all goes well, Hurdle indicated the plan is for Morton to join the Pirates' rotation in early June. The odd man out likely would be Jeanmar Gomez.
“We won't have to worry about that for another 10 days,” Hurdle said. “We all believe that starting is Charlie's niche right now.”
Hurdle is curious to get a look at Morton, who has displayed increased velocity during his rehab work.
“The fastball velocity continues to be something I haven't seen a lot of,” Hurdle said. “I've seen Charlie 90-93; I'm getting 90-96 (in reports). That top-end number is unfamiliar territory for me.”
• The Pirates' staff entered Wednesday third in the National League in strikeouts (371), trailing only Cincinnati (381) and San Francisco (373). Hurdle said there's a strong correlation between the strikeouts and the staff's 3.36 ERA, fourth in the NL. The Pirates added another strikeout artist, Francisco Liriano, this month and are leading the league in ERA in May (2.54). “Your ERA can be manipulated by the number of balls put in play,” Hurdle said. “We've not had as many balls put in play because of strikeouts.”
• James McDonald's bullpen session Tuesday went well. He's scheduled to throw another side session on Friday. “So far so good,” Hurdle said. “There were no repercussions from (Tuesday). He didn't feel anything.” ... Former Pirates hitting coach Gregg Ritche was named the Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year on Wednesday. George Washington, his alma mater, was picked to finish last in the preseason poll but finished fifth.
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 notebook: Hurdle mulling rotation options
- Gameday: Pirates vs. Rockies, Aug. 28, 2015
- Pirates notebook: Former 1st-round pick Tucker has shoulder surgery
- Pirates erupt for 6-run 2nd, maul Marlins behind Locke, McCutchen
- Lacking 2 of his pitches, Pirates’ Morton can’t find rhythm in loss to Marlins
- Pirates notebook: Burnett’s simulated game goes well
- Gameday: Pirates at Marlins, Aug. 27, 2015
- Gameday: Pirates at Marlins, Aug. 26, 2015
- Alvarez atones for defensive woes with home run in Pirates’ win
- Starting 9: Hurdle must act as Pirates’ traffic cop
- Rossi: Revenge is best served now by Pirates