Morris, 25, started the 2011 season in the Altoona Curve’s starting rotation. But after making six starts and posting a 6.04 ERA, Morris was moved into the bullpen in mid-June where he thrived. Over 29 appearances (52.2 innings), Morris posted a 2.05 ERA in relief with three saves (in four chances) with 17 walks and 47 strikeouts.
“The bullpen is more where I see my mentality, how it fits me best,” Morris said. “That’s where I see myself in the future. From the talks that I’ve had with [General Manager] Neal [Huntington] and [ Manager] Clint [Hurdle], that’s kind of where they see me as well.”
Morris went 2-0 with a 1.57 ERA over his final 14 games last year, and did not surrender a home run in his last 26 appearances. Morris gave up just two long balls during the 2011 season.
“I think my role right now is the bullpen,” Morris said. “I’m going after a bullpen spot in the big leagues out of spring training. If I don’t make that, I’ll probably start in [the Triple-A] Indianapolis bullpen.”
“This offseason I really worked on getting stronger, and over all conditioning,” Morris said of his offseason workouts. “Besides that, mechanics was a huge deal for me. I’m just trying to make it more consistent so that I can stay more consistent throughout the year.”
So far this spring, Morris has made two appearances in the Grapefruit League from the Pirates bullpen. Morris has gave up just one hit over two innings pitched.
“Obviously that’s the ultimate goal [making the big league team],” Morris said of his goals this spring. “Staying healthy, and continue being consistent. Other than that, just going out and doing what I can to make myself better and make the team better.”
Morris, who was drafted in the first round of the 2006 draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers, was acquired from the Dodgers (along with infielder Andy LaRoche, right-hander Craig Hansen and outfielder Brandon Moss) in a three team deal that sent outfielder Jason Bay to the Boston Red Sox.