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Morales getting in the late-inning mix

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  September 14, 2013 11:33 AM

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As the Red Sox evaluate players for their playoff roster, don't sleep on lefthanded reliever Franklin Morales.

Morales has thrown only 19.2 innings this season and has a 5.03 earned run average along with a 1.53 WHIP. On the surface, that would make him a spectator in October.

But Morales has allowed one run on four hits over 7.1 innings since coming off the disabled list on Aug. 10. He has walked three and struck out seven. On Thursday night in Tampa, he was designated to close the game, although wasn't needed.

Morales' four-seam fastball has averaged 94 mph since he returned from the disabled list. It was 91 prior to that.

"It's going to get better, too," Morales said this morning. "I can feel it. My shoulder is good now. There's nothing bothering me."

Morales has been battling shoulder injuries since the end of last season. But now he finally feels healthy again.

"The velocity has kind of regained its previous levels over the last six or seven outings," manager John Farrell said. "For the first time this year the one thing we've been able to do is bring him to the mound when he's been fresh. You have to look past the bulk numbers on the year and look at the past six or seven outings."

Farrell indicated that Morales would receive more opportunities in higher-leverage situations before the season ends. "He's certainly in the mix. Yes, absolutely," Farrell said. "He's been throwing the ball well of late."

Also:

Felix Doubront, who had his last start skipped, is on a program to return to the rotation. He will throw in the bullpen on Sunday, pitch a simulated game on Tuesday and then likely start against Toronto next weekend.

Farrell offered only general details on the progress of Jacoby Ellsbury, who is out with a fracture in his right foot.

"As anticipated he's going through more exercises here today, which is all part of his rehab plan at the time of the exam. No baseball activities. This is just all physical activities," the manager said.

Ellsbury has not been made available to the media since he left New York to get his foot examined last weekend.

Dustin Pedroia is back in the lineup and apparently did not get an anti-inflammatory injection on Friday night. Or at least that's what the Sox are saying.

Pedroia has his left wrist wrapped in a bandage after the game and was asked what was wrong. "It's nothing. I got an anti-inflammatory," Pedroia said, pointing at his arm.

Pedroia then met with Farrell before leaving for the night. But now the Red Sox are saying there was no injection.

In any event, he's playing today.

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