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Pirates notebook: Morton status remains in limbo

| Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014, 3:27 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton hugs Edinson Volquez in the dugout before a game against the Reds on Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014, at PNC Park.

Pirates pitcher Charlie Morton sat in front of his locker prior to Saturday's game clad in a T-shirt and shorts unsure of whether he would pitch again for the Pirates this season.

Morton, diagnosed with a sports hernia, made a rehab outing Thursday with Double-A Altoona and did not experience improvement. Morton does not know what the Pirates' plan for him is What he does know is he does not want to have surgery.

Sports hernias often require surgery and typically six to eight weeks of recovery time.

“Being honest with myself, I have to keep all options on the table. But I really, really don't want to go through another surgery,” said Morton, who had Tommy John surgery in 2012. “It's not fun in any way, shape or form. It does not allow for a relaxing offseason.

“It's one of those things where I've already gone through it, and surgery is no fun.”

Morton said the symptoms of “tightness” and “discomfort” began when the injury occurred during his start June 2. The symptoms worsen deeper into his starts, which perhaps could make Morton a relief option in September.

Morton has consulted with doctors but did not have a clear plan in mind when speaking with reporters Saturday. Morton said he did not know if there were plans for him to throw a simulated game with the minor league seasons coming to an end.

“The thing is I can pitch. I can physically go out there and pitch. The question is how effective can I be?” Morton said. “Can I help the team? If I can't help the team, it's a non issue.”

The injury might explain why Morton's fastball has lost nearly 2 mph since the beginning of June, and why his sinker has not be nearly as effective.

“That would be a logical explanation. … But that would be an assumption,” Morton said.

The injury affects Morton's right groin and bothers him at the top of his delivery. Morton posted a 3.37 ERA in the first half of the season but has a 5.73 ERA in the second half.

Morton said he has looked at other pitchers who have had the injury and whether they elected to have surgery.

“You weigh your options and heavily take into account the advice of medical professionals,” Morton said. “I've looked at guys who have had it, but you have to recognize that guy is not me.”

Morton is in the first year of a three-year, $21 million deal he signed over the winter.

Hurdle mum on Snider, Alvarez

Manager Clint Hurdle did not have pregame updates on Pedro Alvarez (left foot) and Travis Snider (hamstring) who were again out of the starting lineup on Saturday.

Andrew Lambo earned his first start of the season at the major league level on Saturday, playing right field and batting second in place of Snider.

Alvarez was not wearing a walking boot Saturday as he had done earlier in the week, but he was still walking with a limp. Ike Davis started at first base.

Locke optioned

Jeff Locke was optioned to Triple-A on Saturday to make room for infielder Brett Morel, but Locke will be brought back for his next start as the move simply is designed to make sure Hurdle has a full bench at his disposal this weekend.

Travis Sawchik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @Sawchik_Trib.

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