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by Zane Heiple

Photo by AP
Charlie Morton made his spring training debut today after having off-season surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip.  Morton would go two innings allowing four hits and striking out two batters.  While Charlie may not be back in time for opening day, it would be big if he were able to be back within the first week of the season to help ease the loss of A.J. Burnett during the first four to eight weeks of the regular season.  Morton had a very good 2011 campaign where he showed glimpses of the pitcher he is capable of being when the Pittsburgh Pirates traded for him in the Nate McLouth trade to the Atlanta Braves.
 
While Charlie looked good on the mound today the same could not be said for the Pirates offense in a 4-1 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.  The Buccos were only able to gather two hits on the day, coming from Gorkys Hernandez and Jordy Mercer.  Hernandez would score the only run when Michael Martinez made a fielding error on ground ball by Casey McGhee. 
Regulars like Alex Presley, McLouth, Andrew McCutchen, Neil Walker, McGehee, Garrett Jones, Clint Barmes, and Pedro Alvarez went a combined 0-19.  Not a good sign against anybody, buts it not like the Phils had their aces on the hill.  Vance Worley would pitch four shutout innings.  Worley will most likely be the fourth or fifth guy in the rotation. 
With three straight losses, the Pirates will get a much needed day off tomorrow and return to action on Wednesday when they take on the Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota.  James McDonald will make his third trip to the bump this spring with first pitch scheduled for 1:05.
Grapefruit League Record:  3-7
And…
As Always…
Let’s Go Bucs!