BRADENTON, Fla. — Right-hander Charlie Morton, on the mend from hip surgery, expects to be ready for Opening Day. Morton had surgery in October to repair a torn labrum in his left hip. He began doing soft and long toss in December and this week is going through light workouts at the team’s minicamp. “Everything I do is done on the side of caution,” Morton told me this morning at Pirate City. “But I think I can get back on time.” Morton will return to Pirate City on Feb. 1, about three weeks before pitchers and catchers report for the official start of spring training. It’s still too early to say what type of workout routine he will be able to handle once camp begins.
»»» Due to changes in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, this year’s voluntary minicamp isn’t as all-inclusive as in previous years. The camp is open to any player who wants to come. But, the Pirates were allowed to officially invite up to 20 members of their 40-man roster and only those who have 0 to 3 years’ big-league service time. Among those here this week are Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker, Clint Barmes, Daniel Moskos, Chris Resop, Garrett Jones, Andrew McCutchen, Daniel McCutchen, James McDonald, Michael McKenry, Alex Presley, Brad Lincoln and Chase d’Arnaud. In addition to workouts on the fields and hitting cages, the players assemble for a group golf outing and last night went to a Tampa Bay Lightning game.