Well, it ends up that Kevin Correia, Paul Maholm and Jeff Karstens weren't the only pitchers dinged up in the dog days. Charlie Morton was too, and had hip surgery yesterday, according to the beat gang.
He tore the labrum in his left hip "late" during the season; the club said that there was no one event to pinpoint when the injury occurred. The surgery went well, and the usual recovery time is six months, so he should be ready to return sometime in mid April if that holds true.
His agent, Andrew Lowenthal, told Mike Sanserino of the Post Gazette that "We have every indication he'll be ready for the season," and he was hopeful that Morton could participate in some baseball activity in four months, which would lead him into spring training.
For a right handed pitcher, the left is the landing side, so it takes a beating. And it's tough to catch up if you miss the off-season and camp. Look at how long it took James McDonald to get back into a groove; he really didn't regain his swing-and-miss stuff until the second half of the season after being hurt in early March.
Morton pitched a career-high 171-2/3 innings, ending 2011 with a 10-10 slate and 3.83 ERA in 29 starts with a shutout and two complete games. He was a staff workhorse, and his injury timeline makes us wonder how that will affect the way the Bucs approach Paul Maholm.
They haven't spoken to him yet about coming back to the fold. The FO will almost certainly refuse his $9.75M club option, but Maholm has said he's amenable to working out a new deal. If he hits the market, the Pirates will likely have trouble matching the bids he'll get. A lefty that eats innings, even as the fourth man on the staff, is a valued commodity around MLB.
Sanserino asked that question, and tweeted the reply: "GM Neal Huntington says Morton's surgery will not affect team's decision on Paul Maholm." Hmmmm. Throw another log or two into the hot stove.