Red Sox lefty Franklin Morales likely to return Tuesday

Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE

The Red Sox should get lefty Franklin Morales back early this week.

Red Sox manager John Farrell expects that the team will activate left-handed starter/reliever Franklin Morales from the DL on Tuesday, reports Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.

Morales has yet to pitch this season after suffering a strained lower back during spring training and then pulling a pectoral muscle during his first rehab start. The lefty started on Thursday with the Red Sox AA affiliate, the Portland Seadogs. He threw five shutout innings, walking two and striking out three in that game, pitching to Boston’s rehabbing catcher David Ross, who returned to the team on Friday.

Morales was one of the Red Sox most effective starters in limited work last season. He made nine starts with a 4.14 ERA for Boston last season moving back and forth between starting and relief for the struggling 2012 Sox. This season the Red Sox rotation has been significantly better, but recent struggles from lefty Felix Doubront have lead to speculation that Morales could replace him in the Boston rotation. However, according to Jenny Dell of NESN, the Red Sox plan to use Morales in the bullpen at this point.

Regardless of his role, Morales should provide the Red Sox with some additional depth and a valuable left-handed option. Morales has functioned as a late-inning reliever, worked in long relief and started in his time with Boston and he has been effective in all three roles.

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