Sox mulling when to activate Morales

BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox may decide as soon as Saturday whether to activate Franklin Morales to have him join the bullpen or continue his rehab with another start in the minors.

Morales has made five rehab appearances as he recovers from back and pectoral issues. Manager John Farrell said the lefty is ready to contribute, but the team is content to wait things out until it knows where and when to utilize Morales.

"He's been up to 80 pitches," Farrell said. "If we want him to be even that much more sure of length we could make one more start, assuming he plugs right into the rotation, or he could work on top of someone the next time through and be available out of the bullpen."

Morales last pitched Thursday for Double-A Portland, going five innings in a win over New Hampshire. He allowed just one unearned run and threw 52 of his 77 pitches for strikes. He likely would not be available until after the weekend, at which point the Sox may have a keener sense of their needs.

Boston carries 13 pitchers into Saturday's matchup with Cleveland. Farrell has stressed his desire to rebalance the roster and drop a pitcher for a position player once the Sox are comfortably removed from Thursday's game, in which the bullpen needed to eat up six innings. Alfredo Aceves, who was recalled Friday to provide support, threw an inning to cap Friday's win.

Farrell indicated that temporarily going with a six-man rotation is not really an option. Because they recently shut down Morales, the Sox were able to reset his rehab clock, which expires June 5, at which point a decision would have to be made.