"Mother Nature has taken it’s toll on him right now and as we talked about the various options going forward we kind of came to the mutual decision that it was best for Matt to go in a different direction and as an organization to go in a different direction," Pirates GM Neal Huntington said.
Morris pitched for 11 years in the majors with stops in St. Louis, San Francisco and Pittsburgh. A two-time National League All-Star he has a career record of 121-92 with a 3.98 ERA.
The Pirates recalled right-hander John Van Benschoten from Triple A Indianapolis to replace Morris on the roster. Van Benschoten was 4-0 with a 1.88 ERA. He will work out of the bullpen in long relief.
Lefty Phil Dumatrait will take Morris’ spot in the starting rotation. Dumatrait is 0-1 this season with a 4.32 ERA.
The decision to release Morris means the Pirates will eat $11, 037, 283 in salary, including a $1 million buyout for 2009.
"The decision to acquire Matt Morris last July did not turn out to be a sound baseball judgment. Ownership’s willingness to acquire Matt’s contract (and all of the remaining salary instead of parting with a valued prospect), however, demonstrated ownership’s commitment to fielding a championship team. I am confident that the investments that we are now making in this Club will be far more productive," said Pirates President Frank Coonley.