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Charlie Morton to Start Season on Pirates DL

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The Pittsburgh Pirates announced yesterday that they were placing starting pitcher Charlie Morton on their disabled list.  Morton, who’s recovering from hip surgery, is eligible to come off the DL on April 14.

Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune reports that, due to having two off days over the first five days of the regular season, the Pirates will not require a fifth starting pitcher until April 14.  Biertempfel doesn’t think it’s a coincidence that this is also the day Morton is eligible to return from the DL.

Pittsburgh is handling Morton cautiously, as they do not want to rush him back to action.  Pirates general manager Neal Huntington noted that last season the club did just that with James McDonald and the right-hander struggled over his first several starts.

While Morton is “a little bit disappointed”, the Pirates are hoping the additional time off allow him to hit the ground running this season.  Morton is scheduled to pitch in a simulated game next Wednesday and will then pitch for the Pirates Triple-A affiliate on April 9.

Morton was a large part of the Pirates revamped 2011 pitching staff.  The 28-year-old had a career year, posting an ERA and WHIP of 3.83 and 1.532 and finishing the year with 171 2/3 innings pitched.

For more on the Pirates, be sure to check out Rum Bunter.

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