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Rays right-hander Charlie Morton was removed from his Sunday start against the Yankees in the third inning (NYY-TB GameTracker) because of shoulder inflammation, the team announced.

Morton wound up working two innings against the Yankees with one run allowed and one strikeout against two walks. For the season, he owns an ERA of 5.40 through 4 starts. However, his strong K/BB ratio of 4.25 suggests he’s been a bit unlucky. 

The Rays signed Morton, 36, to a two-year, $30 million contract prior to last season, and his deal includes a vesting option for 2021. In 2019, his first season with Tampa Bay, Morton authored an ERA+ of 147 across 194 2/3 innings. For his efforts, Morton made the All-Star team and finished third in the AL Cy Young balloting. 

While Morton was healthy last season, he spent time on the DL — now known as the IL — in 2018 with shoulder discomfort, and in 2017 a lat issue sidelined him for more than a month. In any context, though, shoulder inflammation is concerning. 

The Rays are in the midst of a stretch that will see them play 11 games in 10 days, so some restructuring of the rotation will be necessary if Morton is forced to miss one or more starts.

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