Sense of relief: Morrow feels healthy in debut

Padres right-hander has no ill effects from offseason surgery

Sense of relief: Morrow feels healthy in debut

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Brandon Morrow's final line wasn't ideal, but in his mind his Cactus League debut couldn't have gone much better otherwise.

Morrow allowed four runs on five hits in 2 1/3 relief innings during the Padres' 12-11 loss to the Rangers on Friday night. He surrendered a pair of home runs, including one to Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor on his third pitch of the night.

More important, however, the right-hander felt no effects of the offseason shoulder surgery that set him back by three weeks this spring. He even touched 95 mph with his fastball on the radar gun.

"I was happy with pretty much everything," Morrow said afterward. "I thought I threw the ball pretty well, so I was happy with that. I was happy with my velocity. I was happy with the way I felt in between innings, getting loose. I was happy to get out there for a third [inning]."

Morrow is in the mix for one of the Padres' two available rotation spots, but in all likelihood, he will not be ready by April 13 -- the first time San Diego would need a No. 5 starter.

Given Morrow's injury history, the club isn't taking any chances in his recovery, and Morrow is fine with that.

"I want to get back, but we're not pushing it," Morrow said. "We already had that conversation that we're not going to push it. There's no reason to."

During the first month of the 2015 season, Morrow was arguably the Padres' best starting pitcher. He posted a 2.73 ERA and a 1.091 WHIP, before going down with the shoulder injury in early May.

But Morrow has yet to feel any lingering effects of that shoulder issue this spring. And he didn't mess around in his first start back, throwing 32 of his 47 pitches for strikes.

So at what point this spring was Morrow able to regain his command?

"Today," he said. "And I think a lot of it had to do with just getting out into a game and just pitching unconsciously -- like letting the game adrenaline take over and not worrying about mechanics, trying to get outs. I actually got into a pretty good rhythm."

AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.