Pirates Notebook: Morton expected to start against Reds


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WASHINGTON -- Charlie Morton will start tonight against the Cincinnati Reds because his previous scheduled start, Tuesday against the Washington Nationals, was postponed due to thunderstorms in the forecast.

James McDonald, tonight's scheduled starter, will start Thursday. Everyone in the rotation will be pushed back a day.

"He's thrown his sides, he's stayed in the regimens as much as you control in your regimen," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Morton.

Morton said he would play catch Tuesday and throw a few pitches off the mound.

"I'll look at the video from my last start, watch the same stuff I watched before my start, watch some games that have been played since then, just to try to get a feel for what they're doing. I was preparing for Washington, but there's still plenty of time."

Morton threw a complete game against the Reds April 15, allowing one run on five hits. He is 4-1 this season with a 3.13 ERA and has allowed six combined earned runs in his past three starts.

His previous start, May 12 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, was postponed after two innings. He allowed one run.

"This is kind of weird," he said of the weather toying with two starts in a row.

McCutchen a short reliever

Hurdle said Daniel McCutchen, formerly the bullpen's long reliever, switched to a shorter role. Chris Resop will assume more of the long relief duties.

"We really don't have a long guy," Hurdle said. "For a couple innings, he's definitely capable of throwing two innings."

Resop has struggled recently, allowing nine earned runs in his past seven appearances.

"We're going to try to give him an opportunity to make more pitches, to throw more pitches, to get back on track," Hurdle said.

McCutchen has an 0.53 ERA and has allowed one earned run in 17 innings.

"With the way he's pitched, he's got much better production out of that role," Hurdle said. "He's pitched higher-leverage innings, he's done well."

Wood's aggressive play

Brandon Wood, who was called out at third base in the fourth inning of Monday's 4-2 loss to the Nationals trying to take an extra base on Chris Snyder's single, said the call could have gone either way.

Snyder singled to center field with Wood on first, and Nationals center fielder Roger Bernadina threw Wood out at third.

"I checked out the replay," he said. "The center fielder, he got behind it pretty good. I thought he had some direction going into right field but he got behind it and made a good throw.

"A little too aggressive."

Buried treasure

• In his past four games, Andrew McCutchen is 5 for 13 with a double, 2 triples, 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored.

• Tuesday's game was the Pirates' fourth postponed due to weather this season. That's the most since 2004, when 11 games were postponed. Four of those postponements also happened before May 18.

• Morton has recorded 77.4 percent of his outs with ground balls, the highest percentage in the Majors.


Bill Brink: bbrink@post-gazette.com . First Published May 18, 2011 4:00 AM


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