Worley to fill in for ailing Morton, start Sunday's finale
Righty tossed five scoreless Tuesday after missing month with sports hernia
PITTSBURGH -- Charlie Morton had what he called a "discouraging" bullpen session Thursday, and a sports hernia in his right side will prevent him from starting Sunday. The team announced Friday afternoon that Vance Worley will take the mound in the series finale against the Brewers this weekend.
Morton made his first start for the Pirates in more than a month Tuesday, throwing five scoreless innings against the Red Sox. While his numbers looked promising, the sinkerballer revealed Friday that he tweaked something on one of the last pitches of the outing. The showing will likely be Morton's last of 2014.
"It was one of the faster pitches I threw, something changed a little bit more," Morton said. "I don't know how to describe it. The sensation is somewhat different, the location is the same."
Morton has been dealing with the injury in his right hip/groin area since a June 2 start in San Diego, and he spent four weeks on the disabled list because of it. He said during the bullpen session was the worst he's felt with the ailment since it began bothering him.
"This whole time [with the injury], I've been able to at least go out, throw a bullpen, play catch effectively," Morton said. "And the ball was not coming out very well at all [Thursday], I was pretty discouraged about the bullpen [Thursday]. I keep hoping that the next time I play catch, I'll feel better."
Morton said the next step will be meeting with orthopedic surgeon Dr. Thomas Bryd in Nashville -- the same doctor he met with earlier this season and who performed surgery on Morton's left hip in the 2012 offseason. While meeting with Byrd, Morton noted he will get an idea if he'll need more surgery to resolve this issue.
Meanwhile, Worley will be reinserted into the rotation and make his first start since Sept. 10. The right-hander stuck in the rotation after being promoted from Triple-A in mid-June, but has had a shaky patch of late. Worley has a 4.81 ERA in his last six starts, one of them an Aug. 24 appearance against the Brewers in which he gave up a season-high12 hits.
Coming back after skipping a start should not be a problem for Worley, who referenced a stretch in July when he did not start in two weeks because of the All-Star break and a shuffling of the rotation. Knowing there was a chance Morton would not pitch Sunday, Worley threw 16 pitches in the bullpen Wednesday and threw another light bullpen session Friday.
• Before the Josh Harrison-triggered gem Sunday, PNC Park, opened in 2001, was the oldest MLB park yet to host a triple play. The four remaining holdout yards are Minute Maid Park (opened 2002), Petco Park (2004), Busch Stadium III (2006) and Marlins Park (2012).
• If you watched Andrew McCutchen back into the wall after leaping to rob Boston's Daniel Nava of extra bases Thursday night, it might have reminded you of an identical catch he'd made on St. Louis' Matt Carpenter on Aug. 26 -- only a week after returning from an avulsion rib fracture.
The difference? McCutchen was visibly in pain after the earlier catch, and had to leave that game two innings later. Thursday night, he came off the wall spryly.
"I'm good now. But I've been good for a long while," McCutchen said with a grin.
• Russell Martin's average with runners in scoring position -- .367 entering Friday night's game -- is the best by a regular Pirates catcher in 39 years. Manny Sanguillen hit .381 with RISP in 1975.