BRADENTON, Fla. -- Charlie Morton's first start -- in the Pirates' 10th spring game -- may not have been smooth, but in keeping with the rest of Pittsburgh's starting pitchers, it was spotless.
Morton put up two zeroes on Monday against the Phillies -- stretching the Pittsburgh starters' scoreless streak to 10 innings -- despite allowing singles to four of the first six men he faced. He picked a man off second to diffuse one threat, and made some clutch pitches to escape another.
"I got into some situations I did not want to be in, but being able to get out of them was a good thing," Morton said following the most significant step yet in his comeback from hip surgery in October. "Now I can start zeroing in on what I didn't do well and need to work on."
With men on first and second and one out in the first, Morton pivoted away from batter Laynce Nix to see Juan Pierre so far off second that for an instant both froze. Pierre didn't know where to run, and Morton didn't know where to throw.
I thought, 'My God, does he know what's going on?' I debated whether to throw to third or to second," said Morton, who went to second to easily erase Pierre.