Morales likely to return Tuesday

BOSTON -- The Red Sox are leaning heavily toward activating left-hander Franklin Morales on Tuesday, manager John Farrell said Sunday morning.

Morales has been on the disabled list all season with back and pectoral issues. He has been stretched out to as many as 77 pitches through the course of a minor-league rehabilitation stint designed to provide more starting pitching depth, but will join the bullpen upon activation.

Farrell said Saturday that when a pitcher has been stretched out in order to start and then bumped back into a bullpen role, he usually has about two weeks before he loses the ability to step right into a starting spot.

Morales was 3-4 with a 3.77 ERA in 37 games with Boston in 2012. He had some impressive moments in the nine starts that he made during the campaign, which made him an intriguing option to round out the back end of the rotation as the Sox put together this year’s edition. The signing of Ryan Dempster and Morales’ physical issues this spring put that idea on the back burner, and the relative health of the rotation has led the 27-year-old back to the bullpen for now.

Morales threw five innings for Double-A Portland on Thursday. He was 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA in five rehab outings.