Morton Likely to Return to Rotation this Weekend

Right-hander Charlie Morton joined the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday in Los Angeles, the day after making his final rehab start with Triple-A Indianapolis. The 28-year-old allowed one run on six hits over 7.2 innings on Monday. Morton walked one and struck out eight batters while throwing 98 pitches, 63 for strikes.

Morton was placed on the 15-day disabled list to start the 2012 season due to offseason left hip surgery. The move was retroactive to March 29, making him eligible for reinstatement on April 13.

The Pirates will need a starter on Saturday, April 14, and Morton will likely get the ball. The club will have to option a player to Triple-A in order to reinstate Morton from the DL. Either Infielder Matt Hague, Josh Harrison or Yamaico Navarro will be sent down. The Pirates elected to carry an extra bat on the bench to start the season instead of carrying an extra arm in the ‘pen.

Hague, 26, has been used in a double platoon situation at first base with a left-hander on the mound. He’s made two starts and played in three games for the Pirates this season. Hague has gone 1-for-7 with two RBI. His lone hit was the game tying pinch-hit RBI in the Pirates eventual win on Sunday. Hague also drove in the only run scored on Monday in the Pirates 2-1 loss to the Dodgers.

Harrison and Navarro have yet to make a start this season. Harrison has had one at-bat, where he hit a double. Navarro has had two at-bats, where both times he drew a walk.

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  • steve-O K

    I bet it’s Hague.  Alvarez and Hague both nees playing time and we have Harrison and Navarro on the bench who have experience and can jump right now.  Hague needs to be a full time starter in AAA until a true spot is open for him.

  • Steve

    Looks, to me, like they are using Hague in a role they deem important.  I think it will be Harrison, due to Navarro’s ability to backup short.

    • Kristy Robinson

      I agree with you, Steve. Hurdle seems to like the double platoon so my bet is they keep Hague. Navarro and Harrison haven’t gotten many at-bats. I’d guess Harrison goes to get more reps at short. Navarro is better defensively at short, plus left field, more versatile off the bench.  

  • HankS

    Everyone knows its going to be Hague, but why cant it be Nate???? If you need someone to play the outfield for the night you could have Jones play right, hague can play first.. To me Nate offers nothing sure people will disagree with that but I would like to see how far Hague can take this.

    • Jeremy_Stein

      Nate can play all three outfile positions and has some speed.

      I guess if McCutchen needs a day off, you could play Presley in Center, Tabata in Left and Jones in right, but then what do you do on that day when someone gets hurt? Put McCutchen in on his day off?

      • HankS

        If someone goes on the DL then you will have an open spot, if its not a DL type injury then Harrison could be an emergency back up since they did have him play the outfield in Spring Training.. And I will agree Nate does still have good speed but wouldnt you want to give AB to Hague to see what you have??  I know Nate has experience but I would like Hague to have a shot..

  • Nate

    It will be Hague, but it’s not his fault.  He needs to play everyday to keep improving, I’m sure he’ll be up full-time before not too long.  Jones’ bat is looking slower than ever.

  • piratemike

    Keep all three and send the starters down.

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