Morris promoted to Indianapolis

On a day when a Pirates pitcher made a rehab start for the Curve, Altoona’s top pitcher received a promotion to Triple-A Indianapolis.

Right-hander A.J. Morris (5-1) was called up Friday ahead of the first game of a three-game series at Trenton. He is enjoying a career year, leading the Eastern League with a 1.64 ERA, which is also fourth in all of Double-A.

The 27-year old is second in opponents’ batting average at .208, and his 1.05 WHIP ranks third in the league. He is the second Curve player promoted to Triple-A in the last week, following outfielder Mel Rojas Jr.

“He’s been a savior,” Altoona manager Carlos Garcia recently said of Morris.

The Pirates selected Morris in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft in December and have been impressed with him this season.

“He was targeted as a groundball machine, and so we thought that he would be a good match with us given how we defend in the infield,” Pirates farm director Larry Broadway recently said. “He has pitched aggressively with two types of fastballs and has done a good job for us so far. He’s efficient and forces contact.”

Morris will replace Duke Welker on the Indy roster. Welker underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this week.

– Matt Michelone