Charlie Morton, James McDonald progressing

Justin K. Aller

Here are notes from Clint Hurdle's press scrum today:

-P- Jason Grilli is unavailable tonight, Hurdle says: "He threw 34 [last night against the Cubs] -- he's not pitching today, he might not pitch tomorrow."

-P- Hurdle characterized James McDonald's bullpen yesterday as "So far, so good." McDonald is scheduled to throw again on Friday.

-P- On Charlie Morton's start for Altoona last night: "Stamina was good. Fastball velocity continues to be something I haven't seen a lot of. I've seen Charlie 90 to 93, I'm getting [reports of] 90 to 96, so that top-end number is unfamiliar territory for me. The ball is still sinking. ... The next two [rehab starts] will be ramped up, six [innings, I think] at 90, seven at 100, both with the Triple-A team."

-P- Hurdle said that "Starting is Charlie's niche," seemingly implying that Morton might be added to the rotation when he returns, although Hurdle didn't commit to that. In any case, it doesn't sound like Hurdle will consider using Morton out of the bullpen.

-P- Hurdle talked about the importance of maintaining intensity throughout the game, regardless of who the other team might be: "The game doesn't know the game is important. That runner on second with two outs in the second inning can be the same as the runner on second with two outs in the eighth inning, when you develop that mindset as a professional. I talked to a professional golfer ... He said, 'My game never evolved until I figured out you just need to play the course. I didn't need to play my competition.' So regardless of the uniform you're playing against, regardless of the skill set that's on the mound, you deal with the situation ... It's a mindset, and I think this team is challenging itself to develop that mindset significantly better than we have before."

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This is my first time in the press box, so I'm getting a sense of what I'm supposed to be doing here. Thanks to Dave Manel for texting me advice and to James Santelli for letting me follow him around a little bit. Thanks, also, to the reporters who were actually asking the questions -- since it's my first day, I wanted to lay back a little bit and make sure I didn't do anything ridiculous. That will change as I get more experience here.

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