Charlie Morton threw a bullpen session today at Pirate City, his first return to the mound in his recovery from Tommy John surgery. The right-hander has been throwing since he was cleared by Dr. James Andrews a few months ago, and today was the biggest volume of pitches he’s thrown in his recovery. Morton threw 29-30 pitches in his bullpen session, then threw 12 more to hitters.
After the bullpen, Morton talked about how his arm felt, and where he would go from there with his recovery.
“I feel good enough to start my progression to build up [to starting],” Morton said. “Whatever the powers that be would deem that progression to be. I feel like I could just throw my bullpen, throw a live BP, bullpen, live BP, and again until the five-day routine. The problem is that we just don’t know how, physically, I’m going to react to the workload. So that’s really what we’re doing.”
The Pirates will see how Morton’s arm reacts to the throwing program and the bullpen before determining how quickly he can progress. He’s currently scheduled for a side session on Thursday.
Morton threw only four-seam fastballs and sinkers today. He was more focused on actually throwing, rather than the location of the pitches.
“I think a lot of location is dictated by how you feel, mentally,” Morton said. “For me right now it’s not really a physical thing. It’s just staying with myself, staying with my delivery, and then making the pitch. Right now I’m not experiencing something where I feel like I have a foreign part in my arm. I feel like I’m starting to, if I have not, progress past that.”
In his next bullpen, Morton will be putting more emphasis on execution, as well as in the next live batting practice.
“Really what I want to do is I want to see the action of the pitch,” Morton said of his sinker. “I want to see movement, and I want to see the ball down and just be able to work in the zone.”