Charlie Morton continued his recovery and preparation Monday with another outing in a game situation, inching closer to an eventual return after nearly a year away from the majors. Morton threw 29 pitches in two innings Monday of an extended spring training game. Morton, 29, who had Tommy John ligament replacement surgery in June, threw some of his secondary pitches in addition to his two-seam fastball. "The velocity was very good," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "It was another good day for him." Pitchers generally take about a year to return from elbow ligament reconstructions. Morton, a right-hander, has had no setbacks during his recovery. Before Morton can enter what for him will serve as spring training, he slowly will add his secondary pitches to the fastball as he continues to build arm strength. "We're probably still going to incorporate all the pitches before we start ramping it up," Hurdle said. "He's getting close to that, where we're actually saying, 'OK, today it's two [innings] and 35 [pitches], then it's three and 50.' " In addition to his sinker, Morton throws a four-seam fastball, curveball and changeup. He dabbled with a cut fastball, hoping for a weapon to keep left-handers from sitting on the sinker, before the injury. "These innings are building up arm strength, the pitches, but he's not throwing a lot of pitches other than the sinker right now," Hurdle said. "That's something that we've got to add in from time to time and we want to incrementally put them in one at a time. He's in a very good place. He's still on schedule."
Charlie Morton slowly moves closer to return
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Apr 9