Pitching on a broken leg in the World Series instantly made Charlie Morton an Atlanta Braves legend. But what about 2022?
When we last heard from Atlanta Braves pitcher Charlie Morton, it was 3 weeks after the end of the World Series and we learned of the manner and magnitude of the leg injury he experienced during the first three innings of World Series Game 1.
This was actually the third time he’d been hit in that right (push-off) leg during the 2021 season. Morton thought enough of this event to get an X-Ray performed after the inning. Interestingly, the read was “negative” for a break.
But as he told Jeff Schultz in late November (subscription required), things changed:
"And then when I threw that pitch to Altuve — because it was a two-strike pitch and I was more focused on executing the pitch — I think I just really went back to my normal delivery in my lower half and the lower part of my leg. And that’s when I felt the bone, like, actually separate into two pieces."
At that point, Morton did have a prognosis, which was quite good, despite the scary sound of this report. While he wasn’t certain where he’d be physically — other than the leg — Morton told Schultz that he expected to be ready for Spring Training.
This is the point at which we look at the calendar and recognize the obvious: that pitchers and catchers didn’t report on February15th… and likely won’t for at least a couple more weeks.
That delay might only help Morton in terms of his physical readiness, but the news appears to be all good from the Braves’ veteran starter. David O’Brien checked in with him to find out (subscription required again):
"As of Saturday [February 12th], Morton said he’s “mostly caught up” to where he would be normally at this point of February, but added that he wouldn’t know more until he gets into the rigors of spring training."
We’re now a full week beyond that point, with more “catch up” time still available for Morton, which means the Braves should have one less question — and a fairly major question at that — answered for their pitching staff.
A long post-season (and particularly one so long after the shortened 2020 campaign) can be trying on players not used to going all-out for an extra month while the other clubs begin their off-seasons much earlier. That was certainly a concern for the Braves entering this Winter.
So while we’d prefer to have baseballs flying in Florida by this point, having a few weeks of extra off-time will certainly benefit the Braves.
And for Charlie Morton… it’s time well spent in rehabbing an injury that could have been truly devastating.