Josh Beckett’s DL Stint is Precautionary, But Gives Franklin Morales Chance to Prove Himself As A Spot Starter

by NESN Staff

June 16, 2012

Josh Beckett's DL Stint is Precautionary, But Gives Franklin Morales Chance to Prove Himself As A Spot StarterThe Red Sox rotation is undergoing turbulence.

A day after skipper Bobby Valentine explained his plan to sit Josh Beckett for at least one start — due to inflammation in his right shoulder — the team was forced to place the pitcher on the 15-day disabled list.   

It shakes up the starting pitching situation just a little more. Nearly a week and a half ago, the Red Sox optioned starter Daniel Bard to Triple-A and subsequently promoted Daisuke Matsuzaka. The move was partly due to Bard's control issues.  

Depending on the severity of Beckett's situation, the Red Sox may look to Franklin Morales to spot start for at least two turns in the rotation. Valentine told reporters in Chicago that he was simply taking the cautious route with Beckett.

Had the stakes been higher, Valentine said Beckett could've pitched. While Beckett lingers on the disabled list, he'll likely get his thumb injury — that dates back from the end of spring training — addressed with a cortisone shot.

Last season, spot starting duty belonged to Alfredo Aceves. Since he's filling in at closer with Andrew Bailey sidelined, Morales will hold the fort.

Before Rich Hill's injury, the Red Sox were already preparing for Morales an emergency scenario, stretching out the left-hander for 4 1/3 innings against the Blue Jays on June 3 and three innings versus the Nationals on June 9.

Despite the added workload, Morales flourished in the role, throwing scoreless outings in each while tallying a combined seven strikeouts.

But Morales hasn't pitched since that last outing on June 9. With a week's worth of rest, Morales will make his first start since 2009, when he threw six innings as a member of the Rockies and surrendered four hits and one run against the Diamondbacks.

Keep in mind the lefty ascended up the Rockies' farm system as a starter. But in 2009, control issues caught up to Morales and the organization wound up converting him into a reliever.

These days, the 26-year-old is determined to aid the Red Sox in any capability, including starting if necessary.

"That?s not my decision, but I try hard to do what I can do," Morales said, during the team's last home stand. "What I can control is go over there and pitch. If they give me the opportunity [to start], I get it."

If Beckett's condition happens to worsen, then Bard or Aaron Cook would be in line for a chance to fill the vacancy. Cook is scheduled to pitch back in Pawtucket on Monday as he rehabs from the gash that he suffered during the first week of May.

Have a question for Didier Morais? Send it to him via Twitter at @DidierMorais or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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