Charlie Morton Undergoes Hip Surgery

The Pittsburgh Pirates announced today that pitcher Charlie Morton underwent surgery today to repair the labrum in his right hip. The surgery was performed by Dr. Thomas Byrd in Nashville, TN. The estimated recovery time for this particular procedure in 6-8 months, which puts Morton’s return if all goes well right around Opening Day, but the more likely return date would be a month or two into the season because he would be behind in his off-season preparation.

Morton finished the year with a 3.72 ERA in 157.1 innings over 26 starts. He was recently placed on the 60-day disabled list when the Pirates picked up Chaz Roe off waivers.


John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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Lee Young

Dumb question? I thought he had a sports hernia problem? When did this hip problem surface?


Lee: Not a SME, but it could be the same thing – the Sports Hernia (SH) is an injury of the soft tissue in the lower abdomen or groin – I think the old folks like me referred to it as a pulled groin muscle. From what I understand, the SH can be as simple as an aggravation or as serious as torn soft tissue. The surgery could have been to re-attach tissue, but the projected recuperation period is very long for a simple surgical procedure. Shoulder fatigue, hip surgery, Tommy John surgery, and now hip surgery again? How fortunate we have been to have guys like Volquez, Locke, Worley, and Cumpton – without their better-than-expected results, there would not have been any playoffs for Pittsburgh in 2014! It was not all Ground Chuck, but combined with a non-Wandy, Liriano not there in the first half, and a slow start by Cole, we need to be very thankful to be where we are at after 162.


Therefore, Opening Day 2015 rotation is Cole, Worley, Locke, Cumpton, Kingham?


bucs: The Pirates may very well try to make a deal with Edinson Volquez. He has been a team leader down the stretch, and I may be mistaken, but his value on the FA Market will probably not exceed $8 mil/year if we do a 2 year with a 3rd year Club Option. That amount of money will be negligible if it allows us to keep guys like Taillon and Kingham from starting their ML clocks until possibly June 2015. Of course, a lot may have to do with how Jameson Taillon continues his rehab, and how Nick Kingham looks in the Spring. Morton has a history of taking longer to heal so I see him as a late season possibility at best. Cole, Locke, and Worley are in for sure, and Brandon Cumpton is a solid back end of the Rotation pitcher. What has happened with Stolmy Pimental?


Besides the fact that he has no consistent control and command ?


I’d be happy if they re-signed Volquez, but that hasn’t been Neal’s MO. Then again, I don’t see anyone on the MLB FA scrap heap that stands out as a Benedict/Searage special. Guys like Hammel or Capuano would be useful as innings-eaters, but I don’t see either having the upside of a Volquez or even Worley.

Paul Krzywicki

Justin Masterson would be a nice reclamation project.


I’m not as sold as many are on Masterson. There’s always been speculation from scouts he was a bit of a one-trick pony with delivery issues and better suited to relief. Not denying he’s had success as a starter, but if one believes the knee injury is part and parcel of his delivery issues, that would be a big red flag. It would be interesting to hear Benedict’s thoughts, although I doubt we hear that if/until Bucs move in that direction.


Prior to this season Masterson has thrown 900 innings as a starter, with 4.13 ERA and 3.88 FIP, being a fastball/sinker pitcher with a slider, he has some large platoon splits, but better suited for the bullpen? I think his record proves otherwise. His injury induced velocity loss is a concern but I don’t think it is a death knell.


Professional scouts and baseball analysts have said that. I’m simply mentioning it here as a caution.


No worries. When did they evaluations come, when he was throwing hurt this year or when he was coming up as a prospect? Just mentioning that these analysts might want to consider that Masterson been a fairly productive starter for four seasons.

Joe Sweetnich

So it wasn’t the sports hernia after all


Hopefully he can recommend his surgeon to Clint. Get well soon Buccos

John Lease

The awful temptation to start Charlie is now put to rest. A positive, for sure. Now, the temptation to start Locke must be avoided at all cost.


John: Morton is on a scary streak for a guy we will pay $8 mil a year in 2015 and 2016. He came in 2009 and went 5-9, 4.55 ERA; in 2010 he was 1-9, 9.35 ERA before being placed on the DL with shoulder fatigue; in 2011 he had an excellent year with 29 starts, 10-10, 3.83 ERA; hip surgery in Oct 2011 so he began 2012 on the DL, started pitching in mid-April, but was gone again by June with TJ surgery; started 2013 on the DL but came on in June and had a strong 2nd half; 3 year, $21 mil contract in Dec; in 2014 26 starts 6-12, 3.72 ERA, but back on the DL in Aug and now hip surgery again and will be on the DL until possibly mid-season in 2015. A very nice guy with electric stuff, but absolutely snake-bitten with injuries that have robbed him and the Pirates the past 3 years.

John Lease

Morton always comes up with some kind of injury. He’s not cut out to pitch a full season.

Lee Young

I am not a Morton fan….


I have been, but even I thought they should’ve traded him in the offseason for top value. Now it starts to look like an iffy contract unless he really, finally becomes the pitcher he can be and sustain it for a couple of years. At least he doesn’t have a third hip to injure.

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