BOSTON -- Left-handed pitcher Franklin Morales was activated Tuesday from the disabled list, where he has been since the beginning of the season, missing 52 games because of a bulging disk in his back and later with a strained pectoral muscle.
Because of the second injury, the Red Sox were allowed to restart Morales’s 30-day rehab assignment, the maximum allowed for pitchers. With the Sox looking to stretch him out as a starter, Morales made a total of five starts over the two rehab assignments, going 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA and 13 strikeouts in 17 innings. His last rehab start came last Thursday for Portland, in which he allowed one unearned run in five innings.
To make room for Morales, Alfredo Aceves was optioned back to Pawtucket after being credited with a victory in an emergency start Monday, a 9-3 win over the Phillies in which he allowed one run in six innings.
Red Sox manager John Farrell said no one is happy about being sent back to the minors, and Aceves was no exception. “He’s healthy and throwing the ball well,’’ Farrell said. “He’ll make his way back to the major leagues.’’
There is purpose to Morales being activated Tuesday. With Ryan Dempster having gone five innings or fewer in each of his last three starts, Farrell said he wanted a reliever who could pitch multiple innings in the event Dempster struggles again Tuesday.
Morales has pitched well when healthy for the Red Sox, but has had trouble staying off the disabled list. Acquired from the Rockies on May 19, 2011, Morales has been on the DL five times since 2009. Last season, he missed the team’s last 37 games with shoulder fatigue.
Morales has a full complement of pitches -- a fastball that still hits 94 m.p.h. regularly, a changeup, curveball and occasional slider -- but hasn’t pitched as many as 100 innings in a season since 2008.