When thinking about Charlie Morton the first thing that generally comes to mind is “Electric Stuff”. Either that or his other nickname “Ground Chuck”. Very endearing stuff.
What often is overlooked is the fact that Charlie Morton‘s mental toughness has been questioned. Is he strong enough mentally to do this? No one really knows for sure. The only hints we have are anecdotal so it’s really not worth broaching the subject more than noting the whispers are there.
Something we can look at though is if he is physically tough enough to be a consistent pitcher. A whole lot is made of Jeff Karstens injury woes, and rightfully so. But is Charlie Morton any better?
The fact of the matter is Morton has sustained two pretty series injuries in the past two seasons. A hip injury and, of course last year’s Tommy John surgery. Did one cause the other? An overcompensation maybe? Again that’s something for people much smarter than me to figure out, but I do believe it’s another case of Clint Hurdle abusing pitchers.
His 2011 season was the first time he threw near those 171.2 IP. His two complete games doubled his Major League career numbers and matched his ten season minor league career. It’s tough to say, but I think it’s worth noting that he carried a much heavier load in 2011, much like James McDonald did last year.
In fact the only time he approached his 2011 numbers was in 2010 when he threw 159.2 innings in 31 games. He threw those 171.2 innings over a span of 29 games in 2011.
On top of that he did it with a complete reworked delivery. Asking a guy to throw his career high while using a completely retooled delivery seems at least a bit reckless and the results really shouldn’t be too surprising.
Also he goes by the name Charlie. How many tough Charlie’s do you know? Not many, right? One key for Morton will be to request that everyone calls him Chuck from now on. Like Chuck Norris or Chuck Bednarik. Real tough, manly men.
Morton will likely miss a few months while he recovers from Tommy John surgery. That’s actually a good thing. He’ll be available to come back when the Pirates have a better feel on what they have in the rotation and/or who needs to move to the bullpen.
The Pirates tendered him a contract, so he will be on this team. The only question is when, and what he has left in the tank.
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