No quick fix for Morton


CINCINNATI — In this morning’s paper, I wrote about how Charlie Morton’s confidence issues wrecked most of his season and caused the Pirates to send to the minors for physical rest and mental repairs. Talking with Charlie and those around him, I get the sense he finally realizes what his problems are and has a plan to fix them.

“There were a lot of questions to be answered, as to what was going on,” Morton said. “So to put it back together, for the most part, feels pretty good.”

But it’s not gonna be a quick fix. His first start back with the Pirates was disastrous (eight runs in 3 1/3 innings vs. the Cubs). His second was a bit better (six runs, two of them earned, in 3 2/3 innings vs. the Nationals).

“If I can become more effective on the field, it will lead to me pitching better — and I do feel like I’m close,” Morton said. “My first start back showed me it’s not as easy as you want it to be. If anything, what I’ve learned this year is it’s not going to make sense just because I want it to make sense. It’s not going to be easy just because I want it to be. I do feel that I know now that my outlook toward overcoming difficulty and failure is up to me.”

Manager John Russell said spending three months in the minors likely will pay off for Morton, even if it doesn’t happen right away.

“I’ve played with guys who were good players who went back for a period of time, came back and then played well,” Russell said. “It’s part of the learning process. They get up here, they realize what they can do and what they need to do better. They go back down and work on it, and they’re more prepared. That doesn’t mean they’re not going to go through the same struggles, but they’re more prepared for it.”

Morton’s next chance to show what he’s learned will come tomorrow night against righty Aaron Harang.

»»» Infielder Aki Iwamura and catcher Erik Kratz, who on Tuesday were designated for assignment, both cleared waivers. Iwamura was released. Kratz was outrighted to Triple-A Indy.

»»» Indianapolis manager Frank Kremblas, pitching coach Dean Treanor and hitting coach Jeff Branson joined the team yesterday. Kremblas and Treanor will travel with the Pirates the rest of the season. Branson will be with the club through the end of this road trip.

Lineups for tonights game:

Pirates (47-92) – 1. Andrew McCutchen 8, 2. Jose Tabata lf, 3. Neil Walker 2b, 4. Garrett Jones 1b, 5. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 6. Ryan Doumit rf, 7. Ronny Cedeno ss, 8. Chris Snyder c, 9. Paul Maholm (7-14, 5.43) lhp

Reds (79-61) – TBA — Homer Bailey (3-3, 5.00) rhp