Morton to test left foot in Wednesday side session
Righty dealing with plantar fasciitis; Wandy to pitch simulated game
ARLINGTON -- The episode of plantar fasciitis that knocked Charlie Morton out of his Sunday start apparently is mild enough for the Pirates right-hander to throw a side session Wednesday to see whether he will be able to take his next turn.
Meanwhile, left-hander Wandy Rodriguez will also undergo a major test later in the week to get a better idea of his availability down the stretch and in the postseason.
Morton is rejoining the club in Texas, and will throw the bullpen session at Rangers Ballpark to test how his left foot -- his anchor foot in the delivery -- feels.
The right-hander had returned to Pittsburgh soon after leaving Sunday's game at Busch Stadium after 1 2/3 innings, when the left-foot discomfort was triggered as he ran to cover home plate after unleashing a wild pitch.
A baseball source confirmed the issue was plantar fasciitis, the sole-heel inflammation known to have given Morton a little trouble in the past.
"Of course he wants to give it a try," said manager Clint Hurdle. "Everybody wants to keep going at this point of the season. But he won't really know how he feels until he gets on the mound and tests it."
Rodriguez threw an encouraging side session in Busch Stadium on Sunday, after having felt a little soreness following his three-inning rehab start Friday with Triple-A Indianapolis.
Upon the club's return home, the lefty is to pitch a simulated game Thursday morning in PNC Park, a four-inning exercise intended to stretch him out to 65-70 pitches. He had thrown 48 in his start for the Indians.
First number, last word
6-1: Pirates' Interleague road record, entering the opener of the series in Texas; they were 9-36 on the road against American League clubs from 2007-12.
"They have some talent over there and the one thing Clint has always been able to do is communicate. He has always been able to get the best out of his personnel ... The general manager and ownership have given him what he needs and he's done a great job in three years." -- Texas manager Ron Washington on his former hitting coach, Clint Hurdle
• Justin Morneau's first-inning groundout left him with one hit in 13 at-bats since being struck by a high-and-tight pitch by Milwaukee's Wily Peralta on Wednesday. Morneau had gone 5-for-11 with the Pirates before that.
• Hurdle recalled checking out the Pirates when they made their last Arlington visit in 2010, when he was Texas' hitting coach.
"I did like the core group of offensive players," Hurdle recalled. "Watching [Jose] Tabata, [Pedro] Alvarez, [Andrew] McCutchen, [Neil] Walker, from a hitting coach's perspective, I thought, 'You know what, they've got some stakes on the ground. If they get on the other side of the ball and pitch better, they've got a shot.'"
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.