WASHINGTON -- Right-hander Charlie Morton has dealt with sporadic right-hip discomfort since early June, and that finally led to the Pirates placing him on the 15-day disabled list Sunday.
Infielder Brent Morel was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis to take Morton's place on the active roster. Morton's true replacement, however, will be Gerrit Cole, who will step into Morton's rotation spot to face Atlanta on Wednesday at PNC Park.
That will be Cole's first start since July 4, shortly after which he was disabled with a sore latissimus.
Morton's disablement was officially attributed to "right-hip inflammation." The pitcher has left the club for an appointment with another physician about his condition.
"Charlie started feeling a level of discomfort a couple of months ago," manager Clint Hurdle said. "It's been manageable lately, but now it has started to affect his performance -- and that's when you have to take a closer look at it."
Morton's most recent start came here on Friday night, when he allowed three runs before retiring a batter in the first inning and wound up being charged with five runs in three innings -- his briefest effort since June 30, 2013.
In a sense the club is reassured to have Morton's recent ineffectiveness traced to a health issue. It helps to explain the 45 hits and 26 earned runs he's given up in his past seven starts for an ERA of 6.00 in 39 innings.
"I do think it has alleviated some of the concern about his command issues," Hurdle conceded. "We have a better feel for it.
"He has had some very good games since this began. Hip issues can pop up at any time."
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.