|As the rotation turns: Where things stand with Red Sox rotation||08.04.12 at 6:34 pm ET|
Franklin Morales is set to start in place of Josh Beckett on Sunday, but that does not mean Beckett is far away from making his way back to the mound.
The 32-year-old righty injured his back in his last start on Tuesday, but threw long toss before Saturday night’s game against the Twins without issue, according to Bobby Valentine.
“He really felt good today,” Valentine said. “We are going to try to insert him in on Wednesday.”
With Morales starting on Sunday and Beckett being slotted back into a starting role on Wednesday, the Red Sox starting rotation faces a six-person crowd. However, that is not something Valentine sees as a permanent set up for his staff.
“I don’t plan on going with six pitchers all year,” Valentine said. “But we will see.”
While Morales was the one that just got promoted from the bullpen to a spot starter, he may not be the pitcher that moves back to the bullpen the next time through the rotation. After the Beckett injury occurred, Valentine noted that Morales was waiting in the wings to return to a starting role in which he succeeded from mid-June through mid-July.
With the acquisition of left-handed reliever Craig Breslow, Morales’ role as a go-to left-handed reliever in the bullpen becomes less of a necessity, and gives Valentine the option of moving the Venezuelan to the rotation.
So now Valentine has a decision to make about what to do with the one extra starter he has. One option would be a change involving Aaron Cook, who has struggled in his last three starts. In those outings, Cook is 0-3 with a 9.00 ERA and only two strikeouts in 15 innings pitched.
Regardless of the move, one thing that Valentine said he does not feel his team needs is a clear-cut ace, saying the idea of having an ace means nothing to him.
“My ace is the guy that is pitching that day,” Valentine said. “I don’t know why it means anything to anybody. You can only pitch once every five days, you are going to pitch 33 times during the season and if you are really lucky he might even pitch the first game of a playoff series but the way it usually happens, he doesn’t.
“Why does it make a difference if he is called an ace or not? If the guy gives the bullpen the day off, terrific.”
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