MILWAUKEE — Just when it seemed the Pirates were about to be forced into a difficult roster move, another uncannily well-timed injury has struck. Gustavo Nunez, Daniel McCutchen, Chris Leroux and now … RHP Charlie Morton today went on the 15-day disabled list due to what the team says is elbow inflammation. According to a team release, it sounds like Morton could be out a while: “Morton will be in rest mode until the inflammation resolves. Once the inflammation resolves, Charlie will progress through a throwing program and bullpen work before the next step in his progression is determined.”
Morton said the elbow has been bothering him since May 12, when he tossed six innings and picked up the win against the Astros. “Some days it’s no good, some days it’s OK. Before my last start was the best it’s felt in about three weeks, but the rain delay didn’t help the situation.” After his last outing, in which he was yanked after giving up four runs in four innings, Morton was asked specifically about his health. His response: “I feel good. I feel fine.”
Reliever Juan Cruz was activated off the restricted list and took Morton’s spot on the active roster. Morton has struggled this season, raising questions about how much longer the Pirates could afford to keep him in the rotation. Also, RHP Jeff Karstens (shoulder) appears to be nearly ready to come off the DL. Morton’s absence would make it easy for Karstens to slip back into the rotation. Karstens is slated to pitch tonight for Triple-A Indianapolis. He was supposed to pitch last night, but the game was delayed by rain. Manager Clint Hurdle said RHP Brad Lincoln will make a spot start Tuesday against the Reds.
»»» House of horrors: Since the start of the 2007 season, the Pirates are 4-38 at Miller Park. They won one game in 2007, back-to-back games in 2010 and on Sept. 26, 2011. From 2001 to 2006, the Pirates were 24-24 in Milwaukee.
»»» Blackout: Saturday’s game will NOT be televised in the Pittsburgh area, due to MLB restrictions. The game falls within the exclusive window for national broadcasts.
Game 51: Pirates @ Brewers, 8:05 p.m. ET
Pirates (25-25): 1. Jose Tabata lf, 2. Josh Harrison rf, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 5. Neil Walker 2b, 6. Matt Hague 1b, 7. Rod Barajas c, 8. Jordy Mercer ss, 9. Kevin Correia rhp (1-5, 4.30)
Brewers (23-28): 1. Corey Hart rf, 2. Nyjer Morgan cf, 3. Ryan Braun lf, 4. Aramis Ramirez 3b, 5. George Kottaras c, 6. Brooks Conrad 2b, 7. Taylor Green 1n, 8. Cody Ransom ss, 9. Randy Wolf lhp (2-5, 5.73)