Right-hander Charlie Morton will not make his next turn in the rotation Sunday against the Red Sox. His next start is set for July 1 against the Nats — an 11-day break designed to give him time to rest and figure out what’s going wrong.
“We all wish every player’s development could be linear, that it went from Point A to Point B and always got better,” GM Neal Huntington said. “The reality is, it’s more peaks and valleys. Charlie right now has thrown a lot of pitches. He’s thrown some high-intensity pitches and high-intensity innings, and right now we’re in one of those valleys. He’s got to dig himself out of it. We wanted to be a little bit cautious and help him dig out of it quicker.”
Even with Morton on the shelf, the Pirates will not need to bring up another starting pitcher because they are off on Thursday and Monday. However, righty James McDonald will start Sunday on just four days’ rest.
The Pirates will have to make a roster move before the second game of the July 2 doubleheader at Washington. Right-hander Brad Lincoln, who is 6-6 with a 3.82 ERA in 13 starts at Triple-A Indianapolis, almost certainly will get the call.
Manager Clint Hurdle also is keeping close tabs on McDonald and Jeff Karstens, who both have had stamina issues in the past.
“It would not surprise me if we have another guy or two have to skip a start somewhere along the line,” Hurdle said. “Very rarely do you see five men, as we’ve had, get to this point without anybody going down. I’ve been kind of expecting it, just because of the history of the game and what I’ve seen.”
»»» It was great to see catcher Chris Snyder, on the mend from back surgery, up and about in the clubhouse and on the field during batting practice. Snides is on the 60-day DL, but told me he expects to get back in action, even if it’s just for a handful of games, before the season is out. “We certainly hope he comes back,” Huntington said. “He’s very optimistic and upbeat.”