'Irreplaceable' Morton in Wis. for tests on leg

October 27th, 2021

HOUSTON -- Injured Braves starter temporarily departed the World Series on Wednesday and traveled to Green Bay, Wis., to see a specialist about the fractured right fibula that ended his season in Game 1 on Tuesday night.

Morton wowed teammates by remaining in the game to face three more hitters after he was injured on a 102.4 mph comebacker off the bat of Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel in the second inning. The ball struck Morton’s lower right leg near his ankle and caromed to first baseman Freddie Freeman for an out. Morton retired all three batters, including on a pair of strikeouts, but was forced to depart in pain after drawing a called strike three against Jose Altuve to open the third inning.

The Braves removed Morton from the World Series roster on Wednesday in favor of rookie left-hander Tucker Davidson, so Morton is ineligible to pitch the rest of the way regardless of his tests in Green Bay, where another Braves starter, Mike Soroka, underwent surgery on May 17 for a torn right Achillies tendon with noted specialist Dr. Robert Anderson.

“Charlie is irreplaceable,” Braves reliever Luke Jackson said on Wednesday afternoon. “He's our ace. He's the veteran. He's probably like the most beautiful person on the inside and the outside I've ever met. Losing him in the clubhouse is probably even bigger than losing him on the mound, to be honest.

“Hopefully, he'll get back here soon. I know he's in Green Bay right now. We all sent him a text. He's probably getting blown up right now. I haven't had a chance to talk to him on the phone yet, but I can't wait to see him and give him a hug.”

Morton is expected to be back to 100 percent by Spring Training, according to the Braves. He signed an extension in early September that will pay him $20 million in 2022, with an option for ‘23.

The Braves have lined up to start Game 3 on Friday, but manager Brian Snitker said there would be one and perhaps two -- depending on how long the best-of-seven World Series goes -- bullpen games after that due to Morton’s injury.

“We have guys that we can start that are stretched out,” Snitker said. “Even if we go bullpen game with an opener, we'll probably have somebody that we can bring in behind them that can extend the game. And it's harder to do that when we're going to be in Atlanta because the pitcher's spot and hitting is going to come around sooner. It's easier to do that in the American League and with a DH.

“So we're going to have to do that at least once, and it's going to be in a National League game. Yeah, we were kind of dealt a bad hand yesterday. We'll keep going. We're going to keep going, and we'll figure this thing out somehow.”