Franklin Morales's pectoral soreness delays rehab

Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE

Boston won't get their lefty long reliever back as soon as they had hoped

Franklin Morales is attempting to work his way back from a bulging disc in his back that sidelined him throughout spring training, but he'll have to wait just a little longer to do so. Scheduled for a rehab start with the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs on Wednesday, Morales will now have to wait a few more days to pitch due to a sore left pectoral.

There have been no further reports of trouble with his ailing back, and that's a positive. Still, this pectoral injury means the Red Sox bullpen will go that much longer without the left-handed Morales around, and that, in turn, means more Andrew Miller appearances out of the pen. Or, at least, the potential for them.

Morales is being stretched out as a starter -- or will, once he's back on track. It sounds as if, given Morales' health issues, that manager John Farrell is leery of having him bounce between starting and relief, though:

"Given what's transpired over the last year, when you have to take into account that there's some physical things to contend with," Farrell said, "I think in his case, he bounced back and forth and then relieved between starts, then you're asking for trouble. That would probably be the case if you're talking about Alfredo (Aceves). You put them in one role or the other for a period of time. It's the outings in between starts that really catch up to you."

From the sound of the above, if the Red Sox have a clear, long-term need for a starter in the rotation in 2013 -- say, one of the five starters goes down with an injury that takes them out for months -- then Morales would probably start. If it's just a short-term disabled list stint, however, such as what has happened with John Lackey where he's missing a handful of starts, then Alfredo Aceves will be the guy the Sox turn to.

It might not be our preference, or even Boston's, but if they are concerned that jumping back-and-forth between roles often as the lefty did in 2012 will cause health issues, then it's the plan that makes sense for both sides.

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