|Pregame notes: Franklin Morales to start in place of Josh Beckett on Sunday||08.03.12 at 7:12 pm ET|
While Bobby Valentine said that Josh Beckett is feeling much better since coming out of the game in the third inning of his outing on Tuesday, Franklin Morales will start in Beckett’s place on Sunday, giving Beckett time to let his ailing back heal.
As for when Beckett will pitch again, Valentine said it was tough to predict at this time, but it is “unlikely” that he will be put on the DL.
“I don’t think [he will pitch] Monday. I don’t know about Tuesday,” Valentine said. “He might miss a whole start or we might slot him in … He hasn’t thrown a ball yet so it’s kind of silly to say when he is going to pitch in a game.”
The start will be the sixth of the season for Morales, who has gone 2-1 with a 3.42 ERA in his previous five stretching from June 17 to July 13.
Beckett has certainly had more starts than Morales, but his numbers have been worse than the Venezuelan lefty’s this year. Beckett has posted a 5-9 record with a 4.54 ERA through 18 outings this season.
With the acquisition of left-handed reliever Craig Breslow, there was speculation that Valentine would now have a chance to move Morales back to the starting rotation. Sunday’s start will be a chance for Morales to prove again that he belongs there.
Morales is coming off of an outing in which he recorded his first save of the season. The 26-year-old retired one batter to maintain a three-run lead on Tuesday against the Tigers.
- David Ortiz took batting practice on Friday, but said he said that he will not be activated this weekend. Valentine said that “He is progressing normally towards complete recovery,” but that he tries to not put deadlines on when he will return.
- Andrew Bailey pitched a scoreless inning and struck out two batters in his rehab start in the Gulf Coast League. The right-handed reliever will pitch his next rehab appearance with Portland on Sunday.
- Daisuke Matsuzaka will pitch his next rehab start with Triple-A Pawtucket on Sunday. Valentine said that he hopes to have Matsuzaka throw up to 90 pitches.
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