It appears the Red Sox experimentation with a six-man pitching rotation is over after the team sent 26-year-old lefthander Franklin Morales back to the bullpen before Tuesday night’s game against the White Sox.
Morales made five starts since June 17, with the Red Sox going 3-2 in those games, and pitched 26-1/3 innings allowing 10 earned runs while striking out 31 batters and giving up eight walks.
“Morales gives us two lefthanders in the bullpen now,” said manager Bobby Valentine after Tuesday’s 7-5 loss to the White Sox. “We always have him, if we need him, to start, but he was the logical choice because he was the only guy of the six who had been in the bullpen before.
“It’s not a permanent move, but he’s going to do whatever it takes to help the team.”
With Morales back in the bullpen, the Red Sox settled on a five-man rotation. Clay Buchholz, who came off the disabled list (stomach ailment) Saturday at Tampa Bay, will make his second start since returning from the DL Thursday against the White Sox opposite LHP Jose Quintana. Felix Doubront will start Wednesday against Pedro Hernandez, who will be making his Major League debut.
Morales didn’t have to wait long to make his first appearance out of the bullpen when he was summoned in the ninth inning of Tuesday night’s game. Morales responded with a 1-2-3 scoreless frame.
Asked about his move to the bullpen, Morales said afterward, “I don’t make those decisions. I’m just here to help the ballclub the best way I can. I’m fine. I feel fine. I’ll continue to do my work and when another opportunity [to start] comes up, I’ll try to take advantage of it.”