After tossing seven scoreless innings in Altoona last Friday, Charlie Morton went equally deep into the game with Indianapolis on Thursday. Along with getting in the work on his road back from hip surgery in September, Morton showcased strong stuff with his sinker in the outing. The most important thing is that Morton’s focus has changed from mechanics to competitive pitching.
“He seems to be getting more in aggressive mold and compete mold,” Indianapolis pitching coach Stan Kyles said. “He is getting out of thinking about his delivery. He has done a really nice job ironing some things out in his delivery and is starting to get more and more comfortable with it. Tonight he is in the mode that he is just trying to get outs.”
While he worked around 11 hits in the seven innings, the defense in the early innings did not do him any favors. Even with the large amount of baserunners, Morton was also still able to limit the damage.
With the sinker working, Morton picked up nine ground outs to only a pair of fly outs. He also got 96 pitches under his belt and was able to throw 68 of them across the plate for strikes for some solid efficiency.
Morton got into some of this trouble in the first, after allowing a pair of singles, but got out of the jam with one of those many ground outs.
In the second inning, Morton really got rolling, as he struck out the side around a single. In the third, he gave up two more singles and his first run of the game. The fourth also brought two more hits and another run, this one unearned. The fifth brought two more singles, but an escape from trouble on a Jayson Nix ground out.
The final two innings were two of the strongest of the night for Morton, as he allowed a double with one out in the sixth, but stranded him there. The seventh was a six-pitch frame that included a strike out and a double play.
The fastball was in the 90 to 92 range with the typical sinking action, while the breaking ball was in the high 70s with some sharpness and solid hook.
“All of his pitches were working,” Kyles said. “His forte is getting the ball on the ground. When he is doing that and is getting his off speed pitches for strikes, it makes it tough. He is well on his way and is getting close.”
Morton was placed on the DL in April, after rushing his rehab process some in Spring Training, and has been working his way back ever since. The process threw off Morton’s mechanics, which look to be closer to 2013 form after some work in extended Spring Training.
The next step is unclear at the moment, and will depend on how Morton feels and responds in the upcoming days.
Morton was not made available to the media after the outing.