By John Perrotto
Clint Hurdle made an extremely media-savvy move earlier this week.
After right-hander Charlie Morton was hammered for eight runs in two innings by the Baltimore Orioles on Monday night at PNC Park, Hurdle attributed the poor outing to arm fatigue rather than bad pitching. Hurdle pointed out that Morton had already pitched more innings this season (86) than he did last season (79 2/3) at the major-league level.
It was perfect subterfuge. By talking about Morton's physical condition, it took away all the questions about his performance. Thus when a pack of reporters talked to Morton at his locker, most of the conversation was about his arm instead of getting shelled.
While Morton admitted that his pitches had lacked some life in recent starts, he seemed a little surprised when advised that Hurdle had mentioned arm fatigue and was considering skipping his next start.