Morales effective in stretched-out role

Between May 10 and May 31, Red Sox reliever Franklin Morales had eight straight outings in which he threw one inning or less. In two appearances in June, he has tossed 4 1/3 innings and three innings, respectively.

In those two lengthy relief appearances, Morales has not allowed a run, yielding only two hits and striking out seven. The lefty has established himself as a legit long man who just might find himself as the next in line if and when the Red Sox need a spot starter.

Manager Bobby Valentine said as much after Saturday’s loss to the Nationals.

“Twice Franklin has pitched in this long role,” Valentine said before indicating that there has been an effort made to get Morales stretched out. “We have to make as many plans as we can. He could make a spot start along the way if something comes up.”

Morales has made 15 career starts, all in his first three seasons with Colorado from 2007 to 2009. He is 5-4 with a 4.46 ERA in that role, numbers that are actually a bit better than those he has as a reliever.

The 26-year-old said Saturday that he does not think about those roles but rather focuses on getting outs whenever his name is called. Lately that has come in large chunks. In those large chunks, Morales has shown more than enough to warrant a starting nod if the Red Sox find themselves in a pinch.