PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates have taken right-hander Charlie Morton off the disabled list, but he is not on his way back to Pittsburgh. Morton has been optioned to Triple-A, meaning that he'll stay in Indianapolis, where he has been on a Minor League rehab assignment for nearly a month.
Morton was placed on the DL in late May with what was described as right shoulder fatigue. He spent time rehabbing his shoulder and working with a sports psychologist in Bradenton, Fla., before joining the Triple-A club. At the time of the injury, Morton was 1-9 with a 9.35 ERA in 10 starts with the Pirates.
In five Indianapolis rehab starts, Morton combined to allow 13 earned runs on 28 hits and 10 walks in 27 innings. He struck out 21. Morton had his best outing on June 24, when he allowed one run and two hits in a complete-game effort. However, when the right-hander returned to the mound on Tuesday, he was chased after just 3 1/3 innings.
Prior to Morton's last start, the Pirates had been considering him as a possible option to fill in while Zach Duke is sidelined with an elbow injury. It seems, though, that with Daniel McCutchen's strong spot start on Thursday and Morton's recent struggles, Pittsburgh is going to stick with McCutchen until Duke returns after the All-Star break.
"Charlie's health has returned to a point where he is prepared to come off the disabled list, but we did not see a good fit on the Major League roster at the present time," general manager Neal Huntington said. "We believe he will be a quality Major League starting pitcher again for us in the future, but as we weighed our options with respect to Charlie, we determined the best course of action was to option him and continue his development at Triple-A."
Morton's next scheduled start with Indianapolis will come Sunday.
-- Jenifer Langosch