SARASOTA, Fla. -- Lefty Franklin Morales, who returned to Boston earlier in the week to have his ailing back examined, has been diagnosed with a bulging disk in his lower back and will be out for a while.
Morales was given an epidural to relieve some of the discomfort.
"When he first had the back symptoms,'' said manager John Farrell, "he went through the conservate (treatment) with oral medication, but it was clear that he needed to receive the injection.''
Farrell said Morales will "begin the initiate some activity when the symptoms subside, which they are. We're hopeful that he'll begin weight-room type workouts (soon). There's no target date to put a ball back in his hand yet.''
Shortstop Stephen Drew was scheduled to go through some "impact testing'' Friday as he battles a concussion, the result of being hit in the helmet eight days ago.
"What we'll do is get him on a bike, increase the heart rate and see if those symptoms are reproduced or become more severe,'' Farrell said. "And then find out what kind of recovery time he's going to need. This is case-by-case. While he's feeling some improvement, the recovery time to that exertion is what we're trying to monitor.
"We still feel it's going to be a few days yet before he's back on the field.''
Asked about Drew' availability for the season opener on April 1, Farrell said "it's going to determined by how much time he misses. There's going to be a work plan that will coincide with how many days he misses, both in terms of getting his body back in game shape and then how many at-bats is he going to need like his timing is there. It's still too early to tell all of that.''
Drew took an MLB-mandated on-line test Thursday to measure short-term memory and cognitive ability, but Farrell said he didn't know the results of the exam.
Clayton Mortensen pitched three scoreless innings, allowing two hits with a strikeout in the Red Sox 10-inning, 3-3 tie with Baltimore. It was his first actual start in more than a year.
"It was kind of interesting going back to the old routine,'' he said. "I tried to not make it any different than what I do (to get ready) as a reliever, but it's kind of hard to get antst, you go out there and throw and realize you have 30 minutes before the start of the game. I kind of had to pace myself a bit.''
Mortensen could find himself in any number of roles -- long relief, middle relief, spot starter.
"Physically, I worked hard to prepare my body so that if situations like this arise, it doesn't catch you off-guard,'' he said. "At the end of the game, I actually felt better at the end of the game than I did in my first two innings. I felt like my delivery was a little bit more in rhythm, I was finishing out front a little better and my stuff had a little more snap to it.''
Mortensen is out of options and will likely either make the team or be traded, since he's out of options and would likely be claimed if he had to clear waivers.
"I really don't think about it too much,'' he said. "I'm just looking forward to getting out on the mound and just pitching. Other than that, we'll just let it play out and see how it goes.''