BRADENTON, Fla. -- After missing the first 2 12 weeks of Grapefruit League play with shoulder weakness and then a scare about an irregular heartbeat, Franklin Morales has some catching up to do.
Wednesday, he made his first game appearance, throwing an inning of relief in the Red Soc' 6-5 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Morales pitched a scoreless eighth inning, allowing a walk and recording a strikeout.
"I feel good, feel strong,'' reported Morales. "I need to throw my pitches and everything's going to be fine.''
Earlier in the day, manager Bobby Valentine said Morales had enough time to get ready for the April 5 opener in Detroit, and the lefty reliever concurred.
"If I feel good, it doesn't matter about the spring workload,'' he said. "If my shoulder's good, all I need to do is see some hitters and let it go."
Morales was able to throw his sinker, his split-finger fastball and curve with decent command, making Wednesday a good first step.
"I feel confident and I feel comfortable," he said. "I was able to throw any one of my three pitches for a strike."
The Red Sox get a much needed boost to their bullpen as they begin their road trip through Chicago and New York. They have activated right-handed pitcher Carson Smith off the disabled list.
Smith was placed on the 15-day DL on April 3 (retroactive to March 25) with a right flexor strain suffered in spring training. He made two rehab appearances with the Portland Sea Dogs, retiring all five batters over 1.2 innings of work, striking out two in the process.
This is Smith’s first season with the Red Sox after being acquired in a traded with the Seattle Mariners in December.
In 79 major league games from 2014-15, the right-hander went 3-5 with 13 saves, a 2.07 ERA (18 ER), and 102 strikeouts in 78.1 innings pitched (11.7 SO/9.0 IP). Smith set Mariners reliever records for the most scoreless appearances (20) and most scoreless innings (19.1) to begin a major league career.
To make room on the 25-man roster, infielder Marco Hernandez was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket following Sunday night’s game against the New York Yankees.
Right-handed hitting Chris Young gets the start in left field against left-hander Jose Quintana (3-1, 1.47 ERA) and Ryan Hanigan catchers knuckleballer Steven Wright (2-2, 1.37) as the Red Sox open a three-game series against the White Sox tonight in Chicago.
The White Sox have the best record in the American League at 18-8. The Red Sox (15-10) have moved into first-place in the A.L. East after a three-game sweep of the Yankees.
The full lineups:
Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Chris Young LF
Ryan Hanigan C
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Steven Wright RHP
Adam Eaton RF
Jimmy Rollins SS
Jose Abreau 1B
Todd Frazier 3B
Melky Cabrera LF
Brett Lawrie 2B
Jerry Sands DH
Dioner Navarro C
Austin Jackson CF
Tom Brady’s legal team, including recent hire former US Solictor General Ted Olson, have been granted the extension they were seeking for the deadline to file for a rehearing in the Deflategate case.
Despite the NFL’s opposition - lawyers for the league requested Monday that the motion be denied - the court ruled Tuesday in favor of the NFLPA and Brady. They now have until May 23 to file the request for a rehearing or rehearing en banc with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which last week reinstated his four-game Deflategate suspension.
Once Team Brady makes the request, the court still has to agree to take up the case again. And while many legal experts speculate the odds of that happening are low, this case has continued to confound observers as it has played out.