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Charlie Morton Could Return To Pirates' Rotation This Weekend

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This doesn't quite rise to the status of "news" yet, but Dejan Kovacevic reports that Charlie Morton could take the place of the injured Ross Ohlendorf when Ohlendorf's turn in the rotation comes up this weekend.

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Morton has become, believe it or not, a bit of a sabermetric darling among some Pirates fans, mostly because, in his disastrous 9.35-ERA stint in the majors this year, more balls in play fell for hits than one might expect, and more of his fly balls went for homers than you'd expect as well. I see what these folks are saying, since both these numbers historically tend to regress to the mean, and I don't think any of these people are mistaking Morton for Bob Gibson anyway. 

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Still, I'm not exactly chomping at the bit for Morton's return. Yes, he has exceptional stuff, but it's tough to take solace in things like his ratio of homers to fly balls when he starts throwing cookies as soon as there's a runner on base. Also, his statistics this year even in the minors leave a lot to be desired -- his ERA at Class AAA Indianapolis was fine, but he failed to strike out twice as many as he walked, which doesn't bode particularly well for his success against major league pitchers. He might still have a career with the Pirates in his future, and I don't see any harm in letting him have a few starts in the last month of the season, but that doesn't mean I'm eager to see them.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.