HOUSTON — Charlie Morton addressed a meaty matter before his World Series debut: No, he does not own Morton’s The Steakhouse.
During the AL Championship Series, someone added to his Wikipedia page that the family of the Houston Astros pitcher owned the chain of about 75 restaurants.
That was deleted, and this week a new sentence was inserted that proclaimed he is “infamous for owning a steakhouse and is a steak connoisseur. It is Morton’s routine to eat a 2 pound steak before each start.”
“I feel like I might know who the culprit is, but I don’t want to say so,” Morton said during the ALCS before describing a person much like past teammate Jason Grilli. “There’s a former Pirate that loved to get on Wikipedia, a former right-handed relief pitcher who threw a lot of sinkers, and he’s really tall. I’m not saying that’s him, either, because I don’t have the facts.”
Speaking a day ahead of his Game 4 start against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday, Morton — a pitcher with Pittsburgh for seven seasons — speculated about the perpetrator.
“I’m wondering if it was like a Pirates fan that was mad at me. Because I remember someone telling me that they had my middle name was like Corrine or something like that,” he said. “I just don’t see Jared Hughes changing my middle name, the more that I think about that. I can see him doing something goofy like the Morton Steakhouse thing. I wonder. I do.”
Morton’s The Steakhouse is a subsidiary of Landry’s Inc., which is owned by Tilman Fertitta — owner of the NBA’s Houston Rockets. Morton the pitcher did have a beef about the allegation of cumbrous, carnivorous consumption.
“Does it say that, really? No, I don’t do that, either,” he explained.
Alex Wood starts for the Dodgers in Game 4, just his second appearance since Sept. 26. The 26-year-old left-hander went 16-3 during the regular season and lost 3-2 to the Cubs in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series, allowing two home runs to Javier Baez and one to Willson Contreras. He lasted 4 2/3 innings
“I didn’t feel too rusty my start under Chicago,” he said. “Really at this point, it’s more about kind of mental fortitude than anything. It’s how focused can you stay and how mentally prepared can you be, and then it comes down to execution.”
Morton, a 33-year-old right-hander, went 14-7 in his first season with the Astros.
He had left hip surgery in October 2011, Tommy John surgery in June 2012 and right hip surgery in September 2014. Traded from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia in December 2015, he went 1-1 with a 4.15 ERA in his lone season with the Phillies, missing most of the season because of a hamstring injury.
“And the rest of the year, I’m wondering,” he recalled, “if I’m even going to have a job. Astros called up and offered me a two-year deal for an absurd amount of money and the rest is history. … When the Astros called after not expecting another job this year, realistically I thought I was going to have an invite to big league spring and then have to earn a job in the spring.”
He didn’t get a decision in Game 4 of the Division Series against Boston, lost Game 3 to the Yankees despite pitching well and won Game 7. His only souvenirs from the ALCS finale are from the party afterward.
“I have a couple corks from the champagne bottles from the celebration. I have a bottle, the T-shirt and the hat we wore,” he said. “I threw a Division Series game in 2013, my brother-in-law, as a gift, he bought me one of the balls that I threw. It was certified or whatever you call it. And when I look back, and I’m sure I’ll wish I had, but I haven’t. So maybe I’ll ask somebody to grab a ball for me or something like that.”
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