Pirates Notebook: Tired arm will force Morton to miss start

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Charlie Morton will skip his next scheduled start to work through some fatigue, manager Clint Hurdle said.

Because the Pirates are off Thursday and Monday, they can skip Morton without calling up a spot starter. James McDonald will pitch Sunday against the Boston Red Sox, and Kevin Correia will restart the rotation Tuesday against the Toronto Blue Jays.

"I believe it's more just kind of road wear than anything else," Hurdle said.

Morton pitched two innings Monday and allowed seven runs on eight hits. He also had struggled in his two previous starts.

"He laid it all out there, went over 100 pitches, to get to where he got," in those two starts, Hurdle said. "That erosion leads to maybe little mechanical issues where he's not quite as sharp.

"The ball's just not finishing as well because at the point of extension it's just not as sharp as it was a month ago."

Morton said he did not feel the fatigue, but could tell the ball was not coming out of his hand the same way.

"Mechanically, I feel like I've gotten a lot better than I was at the beginning of the year," he said. "I'm starting to grow into my mechanics a little bit."

"The ball's elevated a little bit," Hurdle said. "They're not beating it off the wall but they're squaring it up better. His command has been a little more iffy than it was earlier.

"It's nothing alarming from the fact that there's no injuries involved."

Older, newer Pirates meet

Standing in the corner of the Pirates' dugout before the game Tuesday night against the Baltimore Orioles, Bill Mazeroski was enjoying spending time with his old teammates.

"When you meet like this, it's with winners," he said. "We won. When you win together, I don't know. Something bonds together, and you just stay together. They don't have these kind of things for losers."

Mazeroski and the Pirates, who defeated the Orioles in the 1971 World Series, were honored before the game. Nineteen players took part in a pregame ceremony that featured a videoboard presentation.

"It's just great to be a part of a team that wins the World Series," Mazeroski said. "[The fans] go crazy and treat you like royalty forever."

Steve Blass earned a complete-game victory in the seventh game of the series, allowing one run on four hits.

"[It was] nerve-wracking to go out there," Blass said. "Usually, you're focused and you have tunnel vision. Everything was kind of bleeding in in the first inning."

The current Pirates met with the '71 team before the game, and both teams wore throwback jerseys to commemorate the occasion.

"It's like a high school reunion times 10," Blass said.

Mazeroski spends time with the Pirates in spring training and said the team's starting rotation had improved the most since then.

"Nobody expected the pitching to be quite as good as it has been so far. It's just been outstanding.

"If they keep that up, there's no question they're going to finish well over .500. The bats are going to come alive here pretty soon, I hope."

Buried treasure

• Hurdle said the Pirates would call up a spot starter to help with the doubleheader against the Washington Nationals July 2. Class AAA Indianapolis pitcher Brad Lincoln is the most likely candidate.

Bill Brink: bbrink@post-gazette.com .


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