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Charlie Morton, Pirates Avoid Arbitration, Agree To Deal

The Pirates have signed starting pitcher Charlie Morton to a one-year deal worth $2.445 million, thus avoiding arbitration. Morton became the second arbitration-eligible Pirates pitcher to agree to a contract Monday. Joel Hanrahan was the first.

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Morton revived his career in 2011 by focusing on his sinker, allowing just six home runs in 171.2 innings. He'll be expected to do contribute again in 2012 as one of the leaders of the Pirates' patchwork rotation. He had hip surgery in October, so we'll see if he's healthy to start the season. Between his health and his control problems, there's potential for him to come undone, but for now, he's an important player for the Pirates.

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The Bucs still have four arbitration-eligible players -- infielder Casey McGehee, first baseman / outfielder Garrett Jones, starting pitcher Jeff Karstens and reliever Evan Meek -- who have not signed contracts.

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For more on the Pirates, check out Bucs Dugout.

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