In an article from Bill Brink of the Post-Gazette, Charlie Morton said that he expects to be ready to pitch on Opening Day. Morton had surgery on a torn labrum in his right hip. In the article, he looks back at the recovery timeline from when he had the same procedure on his left hip in 2011 and believes that they were “being pretty conservative” last time when he returned on April 14th after undergoing the surgery on October 10th. Since Morton had the surgery two weeks earlier this time around, that same conservative approach would have him ready by Opening Day.
If the Pirates wanted to, they could take it slow with Morton early in the year. The season doesn’t start until April 6th this year and with two early days off, Pittsburgh will need just one start from their fifth starter before April 21st. If Morton is ready by Opening Day or shortly thereafter, the Pirates will have a rotation of Gerrit Cole, Francisco Liriano, A.J. Burnett, Morton and Vance Worley or Jeff Locke, which would eliminate the need for another top starter, though that doesn’t mean the Pirates won’t continue to look.
Brink also noted in a tweet that Neal Huntington said the Pirates were comfortable with their depth in the rotation. As pointed out in an article from last night, the Pirates have as many as 12 starters that could see time in the majors this upcoming year. Having Morton back and healthy by Opening Day though, would obviously be welcomed by the team.