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Big day for Morton

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MILWAUKEE — Manager John Russell — along with the entire front office, I’d imagine — is anxious to see how Charlie Morton performs today in his return to the majors.

Morton (1-9, 9.35 ERA) went on the disabled list May 28 with what was described as “shoulder fatigue.” When he used up his rehab time and came off the DL, Morton was immediately sent to Triple-A Indianapolis.

Has Morton rediscovered his confidence? Are his mechanics more finely tuned now than earlier this season, when it seemed every pitch was hit hard?

“We’re not putting a lot of pressure on this start,” Russell said. “We told him, ‘Just make sure you execute and we’ll see what happens after that. Don’t worry about how long you go or the results at the end. Take it one pitch, one hitter at a time.’ ”

A strained back muscle probably means Ross Ohlendorf is done for the season. Unless he has a total meltdown today, Morton will remain in the rotation in Ohlendorf’s place.

“I don’t see why not,” Russell said.

»»» The rookie trio of Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker and Jose Tabata  has gone a combined 40 for 104 (.385) with seven homers and 21 RBI against the Brewers this season.

»»» Since his major league debut June 9, Tabata is tied with Albert Pujols for most hits (87) in the National League.

Lineups for this afternoon’s game:

Pirates (43-86) – 1. Jose Tabata cf, 2. Delwyn Young rf, 3. Neil Walker 2b, 4. Garrett Jones 1b, 5. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 6. Ryan Doumit rf, 7. Lastings Milledge lf, 8. Ronny Cedeno ss, 9. Charlie Morton (1-9, 9.35) rhp

Brewers (61-68) – 1. Rickie Weeks 2b, 2. Joe Inglett rf, 3. Ryan Braun lf, 4. Prince Fielder 1b, 5. Casey McGehee 3b, 6. Chris Dickerson cf, 7. Alcides Escobar ss, 8. George Kottaras c, 9. Dave Bush (6-11, 4.76) rhp

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