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April 27, 2016

Out for 2016: Phillies Morton to undergo season-ending surgery

WASHINGTON – Charlie Morton’s career with the Phillies is over after four starts.

Morton, who left his most recent start on Saturday night after pitching just one inning, has a torn left hamstring that will require surgery, which is scheduled for May 2. The Phillies say the expected recovery time is 6-8 months.

Translation: the injury ends the 2016 season for the 32-year-old Morton.

Morton tore his hamstring while running to first base after laying down a sacrifice bunt in the top of the second inning on Saturday at Miller Park against the Milwaukee Brewers. He underwent an MRI on Monday and manager Pete Mackanin feared he might be without his right-hander for more time than anyone had originally thought.

Now the Phillies will move forward with one veteran in their starting rotation – 29-year-old Jeremy Hellickson, who starts tonight in Washington – and four pitchers who were rookies a year ago. Adam Morgan, who is expected to fill Morton’s spot in the rotation on Friday, would join a starting staff with fellow second-year pitchers Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, and Vince Velasquez.

Morton, a veteran of nine big league seasons, was acquired in a December trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates for minor league pitcher David Whitehead.

Morton is in the last year of a contract that earns him $8 million this season. It’s the fourth highest salary on the payroll this season behind Ryan Howard ($25 million), Matt Harrison ($13.2 million) and Carlos Ruiz ($8.5 million).

Harrison, acquired in last July’s Cole Hamels trade to balance the dollars better for the Texas Rangers, has not thrown a pitch since joining the Phillies and may never do so as he battles a chronic back injury that’s limited him to nine games since 2012.

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