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Morton exits early; Kingham, Castro both excel

Charlie Morton left his AAA rehab start early with shoulder soreness, while Nick Kingham continued what could be a breakout season and Orlando Castro continued his quest for respect

Everybody was in action on Friday, although the second game of Bradenton's doubleheader was rained out.

-- Charlie Morton exited his rehab start early due to right shoulder tightness. He lasted three innings and 49 pitches, throwing only 23 of them for strikes. He allowed just an unearned run on no hits and two walks, with one strikeout. Morton is headed to Pittsburgh for evaluation. Kris Johnson, who'd been pitching well as a starter, got battered for six runs in three innings following Morton, as Indianapolis dropped a 7-1 decision to Lehigh Valley. Duke Welker pitched a scoreless inning, walking two and fanning one. Matt Hague accounted for the only Indians' run with his first HR of the year . . . just a reminder why, as a firstbaseman, he's not a prospect. Darren Ford went 2-4.

-- Altoona's struggles continued, as the Curve collected only five hits en route to a 6-3 loss to Erie. The Seawolves' starter, Patrick Cooper, wasn't exactly imposing, coming in with a 5.85 ERA and .345 opponents' average, but he shut the Curve out for six innings before tiring in the 7th, and still allowed only three hits. Andy Vasquez went 2-5 with a triple, and Matt Curry and Jarek Cunningham each hit his 4th HR. Ethan Hollingsworth gave up four runs in five innings to take the loss. Alex Dickerson fanned three times and went 0-4.

-- Bradenton rode another strong start by Nick Kingham to an 8-1 win in the first and only game of its scheduled doubleheader with Palm Beach. Kingham allowed one run in six innings. He gave up four hits and two walks, and fanned seven. Gregory Polanco broke out of a slump, going 2-3 with a walk. Willy Garcia, Jacob Stallings and Junior Sosa each had two hits.

-- West Virginia got another strong outing from lefty Orlando Castro (pictured) and shut out Greensboro, 3-0. Castro went six, allowing three hits and no walks, and striking out seven. He now has a 1.36 ERA and .220 opponents' average, with 29 whiffs and one walk allowed in 33 innings. The 5'11" Castro isn't a hard thrower, although he does edge into the low-90s at times. He seems to have good deception, but I really don't know whether he could be a prospect. At 21, he's a decent age for the SAL. Anyway, in a lineup dotted with subs, Dilson Herrera went 1-4 with a double, Josh Bell 1-3 with a walk, and Stetson Allie 1-2 with a walk.