MILWAUKEE -- The Pirates placed struggling starter Charlie Morton on the 15-day disabled list Friday because of a right elbow issue Morton said has bothered him for weeks.
"It never got to the point where I was really over it," Morton said. "Some days it's good, some days it's not so good. The idea is that we want to take care of it now before it gets worse."
The Pirates activated right-handed reliever Juan Cruz from the restricted list to take Morton's place on the 25-man roster. Cruz missed the previous three games while dealing with personal issues in the Dominican Republic.
Morton, 2-6 with a 4.65 ERA in nine starts this season, officially has right elbow inflammation.
He said he first felt what he described as "discomfort" in his elbow in the last couple innings of his May 12 start against the Houston Astros. The Pirates won that game 5-2, and Morton allowed one earned run on seven hits in six innings.
Since then, his effectiveness has waned. He allowed 11 earned runs in 18 innings in his past three starts.
"When something in your body is bothering you, especially in your arm, it's going to affect your performance," Morton said.
The velocity on Morton's sinker has been a couple miles per hour slower this season than his career average. But manager Clint Hurdle said the elbow issue has affected Morton's spin pitches more.
"I think it's inhibiting his ability to consistently finish pitches," Hurdle said.
Hurdle indicated the pain likely was manageable, but the DL stint will allow Morton to heal fully and address some mechanical issues.
"Charlie's felt some discomfort, but I think he's gotten to the point professionally where he's OK dealing with some discomfort," Hurdle said.
"I think most of these guys that, once they get to the major leagues and they spend some time up here, they realize the days they feel 100 percent healthy are on the shorter side of the other days. But, when you throw that in with everything else he was working through, it was too many things to manage professionally for him."
Morton started the season on the disabled list after having offseason hip surgery and said his recovery from the surgery and the elbow issue "kind of overlapped." That prevented him from getting into a good rhythm. He plans to rest a couple days before beginning a throwing regimen that will address his mechanical issues.
Right-handed pitcher Brad Lincoln, who has excelled in relief and spot starts this season, will replace Morton and start Tuesday in Cincinnati against the Reds.
Lincoln is 3-0 with a 1.07 ERA in 13 appearances this season.
He won his lone start, allowing two earned runs on four hits in six innings of a 3-2 victory May 14 against the Miami Marlins.
Rare thing: No TV tonight
There will be no TV coverage of the Pirates-Brewers game today as the 7:10 p.m. start time falls within the exclusive window for national coverage. Although Fox, the national rights holder, is not broadcasting the game, there is a blackout on all other broadcasts.
Cole, Taillon are All-Stars
Former first-round draft picks Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon were both named Florida State League all-stars, the league announced Friday.
Cole, the first overall draft pick in 2011, is 4-1 with a 2.47 ERA in 10 starts this season; Taillon, the second overall pick in '10, is 3-4 with a 3.29 ERA in 10 starts.
The Florida State League All-Star game is June 16 in Port Charlotte, Fla.
First Published June 2, 2012 12:00 AM