Franklin Morales injury: Red Sox LHP likely headed for DL

J. Meric

Red Sox left-handed reliever Franklin Morales is expected to start the regular season on the DL.

It's becoming less likely that Boston Red Sox left-handed reliever Franklin Morales can get healthy in time to start the regular season on the team's active roster, according to Ian Brown of MLB.com.

Morales has been hampered by a lower back injury that has limited him to one appearance this spring. Manager John Farrell told reporters that the left-hander has "plateaued a little bit." There has been some improvement since Morales has received medication for his ailment, but he's still a candidate to start the regular season on the disabled list.

The Red Sox used Morales out of the bullpen and as a starter last season. The 27-year-old appeared in 37 games -- including nine starts -- for Boston, maintaining an ERA of 3.77 with a strikeout-to-walk ratio (SO/BB) of 2.53. Over six seasons in the majors, the southpaw has maintained a career ERA of 4.36 with 1.74 SO/BB.

Fellow left-hander Craig Breslow is also expected to start the season on the DL. With Morales and Breslow sidelined, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe projected the team's Opening Day bullpen; closer Joel Hanrahan, setup men Andrew Bailey, Andrew Miller and Koji Uehara and Junichi Tazawa and long relievers Clayton Mortensen and Alfredo Aceves.

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