Morton (shoulder) removed early as precaution
Right-hander will make final regular-season start next weekend in Baltimore
HOUSTON -- Astros starting pitcher Charlie Morton is expected to make his final start of the regular season next weekend in Baltimore, despite leaving Sunday's 6-2 win over the Angels after only one inning with right shoulder discomfort.
Astros manager AJ Hinch said Morton was only going to pitch three or four innings on Sunday, but when his velocity dipped in the first inning, the skipper didn't want to take any more chances. Morton went on the disabled list late in August with shoulder discomfort and missed one start.
"This is as long has he's pitched into a season, and we've kind of nursed him at the end," Hinch said. "If it was a playoff game, we could have kept pushing him out there. He was willing to go back out there. I didn't love the velocity early, and I didn't want to risk anything given the situation that we're in. I think he'll respond fine."
Morton has thrown 164 innings this season, which is his most in the regular season since throwing 171 2/3 in 2011 with the Pirates. The Astros have been very careful with his workload since he came off the DL on Sept. 8, and he's pitched on at least one week of rest in each of three starts since.
Morton threw 24 pitches in the first inning, allowing one run and striking out two. Rookie Framber Valdez replaced him to start the second inning and struck out nine batters over six innings of one-run ball.