Right-hander Charlie Morton of the Atlanta Braves was hit by a line liner to the pitching elbow in the first inning of his NLDS Game 4 start against the Philadelphia Phillies (live updates). Although Alec Bohm’s second-inning liner from the second inning only had an exit velocity of 71.9 mph, it was still struck directly in Morton’s elbow. He first continued playing and finished the inning.
X-rays of Morton’s elbow revealed no structural damage, according to Braves manager Brian Snitker, and Morton wanted to try to go on. After watching him throw warm-up pitches prior to the third inning, Snitker ultimately decided to pull the plug. The harm is as follows:
It wasn’t the best idea to let Morton pitch the second inning, and not just because he ended up departing the game in the following one. A few batters later, No. 9 hitter Brandon Marsh smashed a three-run home run off Morton to start the scoring. As a result, the Braves found themselves in a win-or-go-home predicament right away.
It should be emphasized that, should the Braves make it to the NLCS, Morton would not be qualified to appear in the series if his injury prevents him from remaining on the roster. The World Series would mark his earliest possible return. Of course, the Braves would have to defeat the Phillies in games four and five of the NLDS.
The 38-year-old Morton pitched to a 4.34 ERA with 28 home runs allowed in 172 innings this season, which was his poorest full season in over ten years. Atlanta nevertheless agreed to a $20 million extension with him last month. When your youthful core is committed to reasonable long-term agreements, as Atlanta has done, you can afford to pay a senior starter a high salary on a one-year contract.
After a comebacker fractured his leg in Game 1 of the World Series last year, Morton was unable to finish it.