Just once, it would be nice if Charlie Morton could get through a season without an injury. The poor guy just keeps getting hurt, however. And, alas, 2016 will not be that year either.
Morton was forced to leave his fourth start of the year on Saturday after tearing his hamstring running to first base on a sacrifice bunt attempt. He was immediately placed on the 15 day disabled list. The news got even worse today, according to Jerry Crasnick:
#Phillies announce that Charlie Morton will have surgery to repair a torn hamstring. Recovery is 6-8 months. Yep, months.— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) April 27, 2016
The Phillies have gotten off to a respectable 10-10 start, surprisingly good for a club that billed itself as rebuilding, and Morton was being counted on to stabilize and lead a very young and talented starting rotation. When he's healthy, Morton has shown that he can be an effective starter who gets enough strikeouts and ground balls to slot in well in the middle of a rotation, especially because he's great at limiting homers. Instead, it looks like the nine year veteran will be done for the season.
In his place, Philadelphia will turn to Adam Morgan on Friday. Morgan is the proverbial soft-tossing left-hander. He averages fewer than 90 MPH on his fastball and only struck out 49 batters in 84.1 innings for the Phillies last year over 15 starts. He does a good job limiting walks, but batters hit a lot of fly balls off of him. And a lot of those fly balls leave the park. His 4.48 ERA was pretty much what you would expect for a guy who is basically replacement level. In three starts at Lehigh Valley this year, he has a3.57 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 17.2 innings, but it will be shocking to see that translate.
Later in the year, the Phillies may turn to 24 year old former phenom Mark Appel, who has a 1.62 ERA in three starts at triple A, or maybe to 22 year old former first round pick Zach Eflin, who has a 2.70 ERA over three starts. Both probably need some additional seasoning, and neither of them are on the 40 man roster, so would require an additional roster move to bring up. Until one of them takes a definitive step forward, the Phillies will limp along with the replacement-level Morgan. Regardless of the decent start, this was a lost season anyway.