Originally written on Pirates Prospects  |  Last updated 11/18/14

BRADENTON — Right-hander Charlie Morton continues to take positive steps forward after undergoing offseason left hip surgery to repair a labrum tear in mid-October. On Wednesday at Pirate City, Morton threw his first live batting practice to hitters and Manager Clint Hurdle said afterwards that it was successful. Morton threw “two innings”, 35 pitches to live hitters.

Although taking a step forward in the process, Morton doesn’t consider moving from pitching bullpens to live batting practice as being a huge deal.

“I just consider it a part of the process,” Morton said after Spring Training workouts. “It wasn’t really a huge deal. I expected to get out there and basically do what I did. I wish I could have been in the zone a little more accurately.”

Live batting practice can be distractive for some pitchers, as they have to throw with a “L screen” in front of them on the mound. Some pitchers are cognitive of it, and with some it doesn’t even come into play. Morton said the screen can throw him off.

“There’s an object between you and the hitter,” Morton said. “It’s kind of weird. It’s not natural, but it’s just part of the whole BP.”

“The difference is the hitter, the swinging of the bat, they guy standing at the plate,” Hurdle said. “That is the comfort zone that we want to increase by doing what we do, and how we do it that way. Everything looked fine to me.”

“You get a little more aped up obviously when the hitters are in there, and all that stuff,” Morton said. “You get out there and you see hitters for the first time and you’re wondering how your stuff looks, you’re worried about it.”

Morton said he talked to the hitters afterward and they said that his sinker was there and that it was around the plate. The 28-year-old righty is scheduled to throw his second BP on Saturday. During that session he will throw five more pitches, taking his total up to 40.

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