Morton's fastball topped out at 97 mph during Saturday's game against the Nationals, Philip Fishman of the Houston Chronicle reports. The right-hander got up to 63 pitches (42 strikes) in his fourth spring start, allowing two unearned runs on three hits and one walk while striking out seven over four innings.

Morton is unfazed by the velocity increase of his fastball, which in previous years sat in the 92 mph range. "It's nice to throw hard, but at the end of the day, it's all about getting outs," he said. And getting outs is what's he's been doing this spring. He's allowed seven hits and four walks over 13 innings and sports a 1.38 ERA with 13 strikeouts. Morton has solidified his hold on the No. 4 spot in the rotation. And if he continues to maintain increased velocity with movement, we could see an uptick in whiffs for a pitcher who's averaged 6.3 K/9 for his career.

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