Start with the fact Morton dialed his fastball up to 97 mph. Prior to undergoing Tommy John surgery in June, Morton's fastballs averaged in the mid-90s, tops.
"He was 92-to-97 [on Thursday]," Hurdle said, repeating for emphasis, "ninety-seven. It was very encouraging. A very good first step."
Morton's target was 50 pitches and he needed only 44 to get through three innings, so he made up the difference in a post-stint bullpen session.
"He was amped up," Hurdle said, scanning Meccage's report on his desk. "He settled down as he got more into it. The sinker had good, late life; the changeup came with very good arm-speed and sink. He threw just enough secondary pitches to complement the fastball."
In addition to the fastball speed, Morton's cutter ranged 86-90 mph, the breaking ball 78-81 and the change 87-89.
Morton had remarkable command, throwing strikes on 22 of 28 fastballs, four of five curves, one of two changeups and six of nine cutters.
This initial appearance started Morton's 30-day rehabilitation clock ticking.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.