Charlie Morton injury: Braves pitcher out for World Series after breaking leg on comebacker


Atlanta Braves right-hander Charlie Morton exited during the third inning of Tuesday’s World Series Game 1 win after suffering a fractured right fibula. He will miss the remainder of the World Series as a result, according to the team.

Morton was struck in the shin area by a Yuli Gurriel batted ball earlier in the night. Here’s a look at the play:

As manager Brian Snitker explained afterward, the Braves took X-rays of Morton’s leg after he was hit by the batted ball. Those came back clean, however, and that’s why the team enabled him to return to the mound. It wasn’t until later, when he exited because of the pain, that a second set of X-rays revealed the fracture. 

Morton, who will celebrate his 38th birthday in November, initially stayed in the game after being hit by the comebacker. He faced three batters and struck out two of them after getting hit by Gurriel’s comebacker, but left after his 44th pitch of the evening. He was replaced by left-hander A.J. Minter, who, along with the rest of the Braves bullpen, kept Atlanta’s Game 1 lead intact in a 6-2 win.

Snitker said Morton initially “wanted to keep going.”

Morton was in the midst of his third career World Series start and his fourth overall appearance. He had previously pitched in the Fall Classic with the 2017 Houston Astros (who won the title) and the 2020 Tampa Bay Rays (who did not). On the night, Morton completed 2 1/3 innings while surrendering no runs on a hit and two walks after he escaped a bases-loaded situation in the first inning. He had also struck out three batters. 

“The fracture hurts,” Dr. Rodney Benner, an orthopedic surgeon in Indianapolis, told CBS Sports’ Matt Snyder. “The unstable ones that need surgery are from rotational injuries that not only break the bone but disrupt ligament structures. Direct blow injuries like this can break the bone and make the ankle hurt too much to play, but don’t injure the ligaments.” 

The Braves have a limited amount of options for their Game 5 start. Kyle Wright and Drew Smyly are both on the World Series roster, yet one of the two figures to start Game 4. Huascar Ynoa is ineligible after being removed from Atlanta’s National League Championship Series squad with an injury of his own. The Braves are all but certain to add a pitcher in Morton’s place ahead of Game 2.

During the regular season, Morton started 33 times and compiled a 3.34 ERA (132 ERA+) and a 3.72 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The Braves signed Morton to an extension back in early September that will pay him $20 million next year. That deal includes a club option for the 2023 season.

You can follow along with all of CBS Sports’ live coverage of Game 1 by clicking here.

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