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Morton evaluated after experiencing shoulder tightness

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PITTSBURGH -- Charlie Morton popped into the Pirates clubhouse Saturday morning -- a little earlier than expected, but not for the reason expected.

Morton was back in town for a medical examination and evaluation after he left Friday night's rehab start for Triple-A Indianapolis after three innings with shoulder tightness.

He had yet to see a doctor, but the Indians' training staff didn't think it was a serious situation. Nonetheless, plans to have him complete his rehab from Tommy John surgery with one more start and then join the Pirates rotation will have to be adjusted.

"It's a setback for my readiness, sure, assuming it will alter my schedule," said Morton, who "threw up a red flag when my arm felt different than normal" and looped in the Indianapolis staff.

"So they just shut me down. When I went out for the third inning to warm up, it wouldn't get loose. It was a different sensation than I'd experienced dealing with my arm throughout my career."

Morton was flown into town by the Bucs to undergo a thorough examination.

"I'm not expecting anything bad. A lot of it was precautionary, a bump in the road," said Morton, whose stuff and results had been exceptional on his rehab road. Even Friday night, he had held Lehigh Valley hitless for three innings before departing.

He had a 1.69 ERA in four rehab starts, with more strikeouts (10) than hits allowed (seven) in 16 innings.

"When I walked on the field, I felt good, good to go," Morton said. "I looked forward to competing. My arm has been feeling great, and I've been getting good results."

As Morton spoke in the Pirates clubhouse, he was standing in front of the locker of Jose Contreras, who underwent his Tommy John surgery at about the same time and is back in the big leagues. In the visiting clubhouse across PNC Park, Stephen Strasburg, back to his dominant self following the Tommy John procedure in 2011, was getting ready to make the start for Washington.

"Great. Fantastic," Morton said of such encouragement from the successful comebacks of peers.

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.

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