Right-hander Charlie Morton made his one and only final rehab start with Triple-A Indianapolis against the Columbus Clippers on Monday night. The 28-year-old allowed one run on six hits over 7.2 innings. He walked one and struck out eight. Morton threw 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. His rehab start tonight is expected to be his final before rejoining the club in San Francisco.
The decision to hold Morton back instead of joining the team out of spring training was to build up his innings and pitch count. The right-hander was behind schedule in the starting rotation. General Manager Neal Huntington said he wanted him to get to 100 pitches in the Minor Leagues before rejoining the club.
With the way the Pirates off days lineup to start the season, the club doesn’t technically need a fifth starter until April 14 with keeping the rotation on regular five days rest. The Pirates will face the Dodgers in Los Angeles on Saturday. After being placed on the DL, Morton said he expected to be given the ball on the 14th.