Radio announcers Scott Franzke and Larry Anderson were both openly relieved when the Phillies announced Morton's injury as a left hamstring strain during Saturday's game. Both thought the injury looked like it might have been much worse. Manager Pete Mackanin hinted to reporters Tuesday that the injury may be worse than first thought, as well, but didn't offer any specifics from Monday's MRI.
What the MRI revealed is that Charlie Morton actually tore his left hamstring and the injury will require surgery that will put Morton out anywhere from six to eight months. The 32-year old right-hander is set to undergo surgery Monday.
The Phillies acquired Morton, who is a free agent following the season, from the Pittsburgh Pirates for minor league pitcher David Whitehead. Pittsburgh assigned Whitehead to Double-A Altoona and he has made three starts, going 1-1 with a 3.21 ERA in those starts. In his last two starts, the 24-year old has thrown five shutout innings in each game, allowing a combined two hits, but has walked a combined ten hitters while striking out five. On the season, he has 13 walks and 11 strikeouts in 14 innings of work.
While no official announcement has been made, Adam Morgan was scratched from his scheduled start for Lehigh Valley on Tuesday and will likely be recalled to start in place of Morton for Friday's game against the Indians. Morgan was the final starter to be cut in Spring Training, when the Phillies opted to go with Vincent Velasquez as their fifth starter. In three starts for the IronPigs, Morgan has a 1-1 record with a 3.57 ERA, allowing just four walks and striking out 20 in 17 2/3 innings of work.
If Morgan does join the rotation, every Phillies starter will be under the age of 30, with Jeremy Hellickson being the oldest at 29. As Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com points out, four of the starters - Aaron Nola (22), Velasquez (23, Jerad Eickhoff (24) and Morgan (26) - will be 26 or younger if Morgan does in fact join the rotation.