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Franklin Morales showing his stamina, could be used for starting pitching depth

06.09.12 at 8:22 pm ET
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In Franklin Morales’ first 20 appearances of this season, he only pitched for longer than an inning twice. However, in his last two appearances, Morales has submitted the longest two relief appearances of his career, pitching 7 1/3 combined innings including a three-inning outing on Saturday against the Nationals.

Throughout those 7 1/3 innings, Morales has only allowed two hits, striking out seven and not walking a single hitter.

The recent performances have Bobby Valentine tossing around the idea that Morales could provide starting pitching depth should the Red Sox need it.

“Have to make as many plans as you can and the way our bullpen is set up, I think that he has some length in him –– I thought he did, now I have a better feeling that he has some length in him. It’s good to have,” said Valentine. “If we need a spot starter along the way, something comes up, I’ve mentioned before our bullpen is not really built for a spot starting type of situation.”

Starting is nothing new for Morales, who entered the big leagues as a 21-year-old starter for the Rockies in 2007. In his 15 career starts, Morales is 5-4 with a 4.46 ERA and 44 strikeouts. However, he was moved to the bullpen permanently when he returned to the roster after straining his shoulder in his second start of 2009.

After his three-inning relief performance on Saturday though, Morales is said his arm feels fine.

“I feel pretty good. My arm is healthy, I feel strong and I feel good,” Morales said.

Morales has a 3.48 ERA this season coming out of the bullpen. Given the team’s relative lack of starting pitching depth, his versatility could prove a significant asset going forward.

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