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Franklin Morales returns to the mound

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  July 22, 2013 06:13 PM

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Lefthanded reliever Franklin Morales, who has been on the disabled list since June 25 with a strained pectoral muscle, threw in the bullpen at Fenway Park today and said he hopes to start a minor league rehabilitation assignment next week.

Morales said the plan was to throw in the bullpen again on Wednesday and Friday to build up arm strength ahead of that rehab assignment.

"I'm feeling good," he said. "Everything is fine now."

Morales said the strain is on the upper part of his chest near the armpit and shoulder. He first experienced the issue in April then re-aggravated it in June. Morales has appeared in only six games this season.

If he can get and stay healthy, the hard-throwing Morales could become a valuable piece of the bullpen.

Also:

Backup catcher David Ross, who is on the 60-day disabled list recovering from a concussion, is expected to rejoin the team before the end of the homestand. He has been working out near his home in Florida but is not yet ready to play in games.

"He's been progressing in all activities," manager John Farrell said. "It'll be good to get him back in our clubhouse."

Ross is not eligible to come off the DL until Aug 18.

Farrell mentioned giving Jacoby Ellsbury a day off during the Rays series. Mike Napoli will get another day off, too.

Jon Lester will face the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday after nine days of rest, the result of the All-Star break and an adjustment in the rotation.

The Sox believe the time off will help Lester rally from what has been a trying few months on the mound. The lefthander was 6-0 with a 2.72 ERA through nine starts. But Lester is 2-6 with a 6.27 ERA in 11 starts since May 20.

Its going to be beneficial just from the sheer physical standpoint, Farrell said. Its still going to come back to executing pitches inside a given game. Were gong to need his performance.

Rookie lefthander Drake Britton has appeared in two games and thrown two scoreless innings. He entered Sunday night's game against the Yankees in the 10th inning and got through the top of the order without allowing a run.

Hes come in in some pretty tight spots in his first two appearances in the big leagues. Where he was in spring training, theres much more consistent command, hes down hill better, Farrell said.

Britton was arrested on DUI and vehicular charges during spring training, a matter still pending in the Florida courts.

Im sure hes humbled by it. Hes regretful, Farrell said. He certainly has shown a lot of remorse given the situation.

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