Like Braves, Red Sox wanted Morton as free agent

Credit: Atlanta Braves

Braves pitcher Charlie Morton, a southwest Connecticut native, talks about his fondness for Red Sox organization and how he wrestled with free agency decision.

Before Charlie Morton signed a one-year, $15 million deal with the Braves as a free agent in late November, the Red Sox tried to recruit him to Boston.

And it was tempting, Morton said after pitching against the Red Sox on Tuesday night.

“Getting a chance to play in this park (Fenway Park), put on that uniform, all those things were very enticing,” said Morton, who grew up in southwestern Connecticut. “But ultimately I was weighing a lot of factors.”

In the end, the lure of returning to the Braves — his original big-league organization — won out.

“I made my debut with the Braves. I knew people in the organization, and I knew how special and talented this group was, one game away from going to the World Series last year,” Morton said. “I knew there were good people here, and also just the proximity to home (in Bradenton, Fla.)

“It was a hard decision, but I certainly respect that (Boston) organization.”

Morton demonstrated Tuesday night why the Braves and Red Sox, among others, wanted to sign him. He allowed just three hits and one unearned run in seven innings as the Braves beat Boston 3-1. He dominated the Red Sox, one of baseball’s top offensive teams, after navigating through trouble in the first two innings. He struck out nine and retired the last 13 batters he faced.

“This is a special place for me,” Morton said of Fenway. “This is a real special place for baseball. … Getting a chance to play against a very, very good team in a special place, that was pretty cool.”

Morton tends to fare well against the Red Sox. The 37-year-old right-hander is 7-1 in 12 career starts against them, including 4-0 in Fenway.

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