Indians cut Morris, 10-game winner in a deep slump

August 10, 1994|By Knight-Ridder News Service

TORONTO -- Jack Morris, 10-6 with a 5.60 ERA, was released unconditionally yesterday by the Cleveland Indians.

The Indians said they cut Morris, 39, loose because he pitched poorly during his past five starts -- 2-1 with an 8.67 ERA.

Perhaps coincidentally, five starts ago Morris became a commuter, joining the team between visits to Montana only to pitch.

After his last start Sunday in Boston, Morris caught a 7 p.m. plane out of Logan International Airport and returned to his 10,000-acre wheat farm. It is harvest time in Montana, and there is only a narrow window to complete a major task.

Morris pitched the second game of Sunday's doubleheader. He had asked to pitch the first game so he could be certain of making his flight. But manager Mike Hargrove told Morris he could not switch assignments with Chad Ogea.

So Morris took the mound, blew a 5-0 lead and left after three innings, having given up six earned runs.

"The reason for his release is the way he pitched in his last five starts, not because he was going back and forth," Hargrove said. "People will say how can we release a guy who is 10-6, but we averaged about eight runs when he pitched. The way Jack was pitching it was hard for us to stay competitive in the pennant race. The performance in Boston sealed it.

"Not being with the team had nothing to do with it. The reason was primarily an inability to get people out. And we just didn't see it getting any better."

Morris, a five-time All-Star, has a career record of 254-186. He has played for four World Series winners.

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