Following Saturday’s 6-4 exhibition game loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, the Pirates placed Charlie Morton on the disabled list with a hip injury.
Morton had hip surgery for the second time ending his 2014 season prematurely. He had hip surgery to fix a torn labrum in Oct. 2011. Morton’s last appearance in an official major league game was Sep. 16 against the Boston Red Sox.
Morton had an 8.47 ERA this spring and in the loss to the Phillies threw 1.2 innings allowing: four hits, six runs [five of which were earned], five walks and three strikeouts. He threw 70 pitches in the contest while getting 31 over for strikes. Morton also hit two batters in the contest which home plate umpire Toby Basner used to warn both benches following the second hit by pitch.
“I’m throwing balls behind guys — crazy,” Morton said to Stephen Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on his outing Saturday. “I’m trying to be a professional out there. That’s not professional. It’s a joke.”
On the spring Morton threw 17 innings allowing 23 hits, 17 runs, 10 walks and six strikeouts.
This move allows Vance Worley to join the pitching rotation. Worley pitched one shutout inning in Saturday’s loss dropped his spring ERA to 4.71. On the spring, Worley posted a 1-1 record with 13 strikeouts, four walks and 20 hits allowed over the course of 21 innings. Worley pitched in six contests in Spring Training, starting in four of them. His first start will be Saturday Apr. 11 at Milwaukee.
Morton’s injury means 26 players remain on the active roster as non-roster invitees Wilkin Castillo and Clayton Richard will be reassigned to minor league camp. Manager Clint Hurdle told the media following Saturday’s game that Arquimedes Caminero, Jared Hughes and Radhames Liz are each expected to earn bullpen spots while Andrew Lambo has earned a bench spot. Stolmy Pimentel and Pedro Florimon were not addressed and the Pirates will have to determine whether they want a seventh reliever or an extra bench spot.
Pimentel would provide an additional long relief option, filling what Worley’s role was expected to be. Florimon would provide some speed and an additional left-handed versatile bat off the bench. The official decisions on the 25th and final Opening Day roster spot must be finalized by 3 p.m. Sunday.
Notebook: In the Pirates loss, Worley, Caminero, Mark Melancon and Yhonathan Barrios each pitched a scoreless inning. John Kuchno threw 2.1 scoreless innings.
The Pirates registered six hits on the afternoon with both Keon Broxton and Corey Hart doubling to score two runs. Additionally, the Pirates had three errors in the contest as Pedro Alvarez, Tony Sanchez and Eric Wood each had miscues.
Opening Day awaits the Pirates Monday as the team travels to face the Cincinnati Reds. The 4:10 p.m. contest will pit Francisco Liriano [7-10 3.38 ERA in ’14] against Johnny Cueto [20-9 2.25 ERA in ’14].