8/20/2014 6:48 P.M. ET
Morton dealing with sports hernia in right hip
By Stephen Pianovich / MLB.com
PITTSBURGH -- Charlie Morton told reporters Wednesday he has a sports hernia in his right hip and added the issue has bothered him since early June.
Morton, a right-handed sinkerballer, was placed on the 15-day disabled list with "right hip inflammation" on Sunday, and the rest of his 2014 season is clouded. Morton said he initially felt the discomfort on June 2 in the fourth inning of a start against San Diego.
While he's pitched 13 times since then, Morton said the ailment "just doesn't get better" and has been affecting him between starts, as well. After meeting with orthopedic surgeon Dr. Thomas Byrd in Nashville on Sunday, there was a decision to let Morton's hip "calm down" for a while, and the team will continue to evaluate if he can return to the mound by season's end.
"I'm still playing catch, I plan on throwing some bullpens," Morton said. "We'll see where I'm at and come back and try to contribute down the stretch."
Added manager Clint Hurdle: "From the conversations we've had with the doctor, there is a possibility of a return to pitch program that could be put into play. We have to take it one step at a time."
Morton had surgery after the 2011 season to repair a torn labrum in his left hip, but said this injury is different because of the contrasting motions his left and right side make during his delivery. He didn't rule out offseason surgery to aid his current issue.
In the 13 starts since the issue arose more than two months ago, Morton has been up-and-down. He's made some of his finest starts of the season like an 11-strikeout showing against the Rays on June 25 or seven scoreless innings against the Cardinals on July 7.
Morton, however, has given up at least four runs in four of his last five starts, tallying a 6.58 ERA over that span. He lasted just three innings last Friday against the Nationals, surrendering five runs on seven hits.
"Some of the starts I had were my best all year between that time and now," he said. "You can't say 'Oh, he must be feeling good because he pitched well.' Because the truth is, it never felt great. Sometimes it worked out, sometimes it didn't."
First number, last word
3.4: The average number of runs the Pirates have scored during their seven-game losing streak. They haven't scored more than five runs in any game during the streak.
"It's been hard on Greg lately. He had one hit the whole trip and didn't have one the night back. I'm not good with math, but a 1-for-24 or 25, I do know how that feels, because those were my numbers quite often. Not too bad to take a break when you're 1-for-24." -- Hurdle on Gregory Polanco's recent slump, which is actually 1-for-26. The rookie was out of the starting lineup for the second straight game Wednesday.
• Hurdle noted Wednesday was just a day off for both second baseman Neil Walker and Russell Martin -- giving both players two days of rest with the Pirates idle on Thursday. Walker played sparingly for two weeks because of back tightness, and Martin will not be behind the plate for the first time in 10 games.
• The Pirates have not lost more than seven games in a row since a 10-game losing streak from July 29-Aug. 7, 2011.
Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.