Morrow outstanding in scoreless Padres debut
Right-hander struck out seven over seven impressive innings
SAN DIEGO -- Coming off a season cut short by injury, Brandon Morrow still had plenty of options to sign elsewhere this winter, though his heart was set on starting -- and doing so with the Padres.
"There were a lot of teams, where if I wanted to relieve, they wanted to talk to me. And there were also teams that would have given me a chance to start," Morrow said.
"But coming here was a good opportunity for me. I didn't give a whole lot of teams a lot of chances … I knew where I wanted to be."
Morrow looked right at home in his San Diego debut, striking out seven in seven shutout innings, though he left with a no-decision as the Padres scored a run in the eighth inning for a 1-0 victory over the Giants at Petco Park.
Morrow, using a four-pitch mix, walked three, though two came in his final inning. He left after 88 pitches, which was within his 75-90 pitch target range.
A fifth starter, at least in terms of his place in the rotation, Morrow looked like an ace.
"He's got a lot of weapons," said Padres manager Bud Black. "He's got fastball velocity, when the fastball is down it has sink, a good overhand curve, slider and a wicked change. Tonight was a snapshot of what he can do."
Morrow, who missed time toward the end of Spring Training because of a blister on his right ring finger, looked comfortable the entire game.
"I was throwing all four pitches for strikes, getting ahead of them for the most part," he said. "… I felt good. It felt good to be back out there, starting in a big league game. I definitely had some adrenaline going. But it felt great."
This was Morrow's first big league start since May 2 of last season when he was with the Blue Jays. He went on the disabled list the following day with a torn tendon sheath in his right hand. When he came back in September, he pitched out of the bullpen.
He jumped at the chance to sign with the Padres in mid-December, filling out a starting rotation that two months later, got even stronger when James Shields signed.
Morrow said that part of the draw in signing with the Padres was opportunity as well as playing in this city. He also cited Black and pitching coach Darren Balsley, and their reputations in the game.
"We didn't make any real tweaks," Morrow said of any mechanicalMorrow fixes he and Balsley worked on in spring. "But we have emphasized points that are going to be key for me."