The Cleveland Guardians optioned pitcher Cody Morris to Triple-A prior to Tuesday's game in Pittsburgh. While this does seem to be just a run of the mill roster move there could be something else at play.
In a response on Twitter, Cleveland Guardians beat reporter Zack Meisel stated that the team is "kicking around building him up to 50-70 pitches". This would bring him back to where he was when he debuted with the major league club in 2022. Right out of the gate Morris made five starts during September, pithcing anywhere between 54 and 81 pitches. Morris' final two appearances came out of the bullpen, pitching 22 and 31 pitches respectively.
The Guardians have used Morris in a similar manner this season during his four appearances with the club. Morris has pitched just an inning each time in the 13 to 28 pitch range. Looking at his appearances in the minors for Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus this season, this appears to follow the same pattern. Morris has pitched a total of 14 innings in eight appearances (four starts) for the RubberDucks and Clippers this season.
Obviously there is a portion of this strategy from the Guardians front office that is trying to manage Morris' previous injuries in a proper manner. Shoulder injuries in back-to-back years have not helped Morris and that has certainly contributed to the way that the team has handled him.
The hope is that Morris can get back to the trajecory he was on prior to the recent injuries. The 2021 season saw Morris compile a 1.62 ERA, 1.000 WHIP, and 13.7 K/9 across three levels of the minors. If Morris can get anywhere close back to that level it would allow the Guardians to add yet another talented starting pitcher to their already robust collection. While very premature at this point, It could also motivate the team to listen on some of the arms currently on the major league team who have popped up in some recent trade rumors. But before anything like that can happen Morris has to be stretched out first and that seems to be the plan for him moving forward.