Morales saves Red Sox bullpen with long outing

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Morales saves Red Sox bullpen with long outing

TORONTO After his outing Sunday afternoon, 4 13 scoreless innings against the Blue Jays, Franklin Morales was surprised to learn it was his longest outing since more than four years ago.

But I was a starter then, he said.

Yes, he was a starter on April 28, 2008, with the Rockies when he went 4 13 innings. His performance Sunday afternoon was his longest as a reliever.

Morales entered Sundays game with two outs and the bases loaded to take over after Daniel Bards dismal start.

The first couple innings was tough to watch, manager Bobby Valentine said. After that was easy to watch. Franklin was easy to watch, I guarantee that.

Franklin saved the day so we didnt have to abuse the bullpen, I guarantee that.

Morales gave up just two hits with no walks and four strikeouts. He combined with Scott Atchison and Rich Hill to keep the Jays off the scoreboard over the final 6 13 innings.

Morales was rested. He had pitched just twice in the previous week, a total of one inning and 28 pitches two-thirds of an inning and 22 pitches Thursday against the Tigers and one-third of an inning and six pitches May 27 against the Rays. But he more than doubled his previous career-high in innings pitched as a reliever in one outing (2.0) which he had done 12 times previously. Valentine checked with Morales at the end of each inning to make sure he was good to go out for the next one.

Yep, and he could have gone more, Valentine said. He felt great. He was rested and his stints havent been long really since spring training. But he has a good arm.

I didnt feel tired, Morales said. Sometimes if I dont throw a lot of pitches or a lot of innings, sometime I feel tired. But I feel very good today and my arm is good.

I know Monday is a day off and only what I do is make my pitches.

With the outing Morales lowered his ERA nearly a full run, from 4.41 to 3.48. He also lowered his already impressive road ERA more than a half run, from 1.35 to 0.82. In nine road games, spanning 11 innings, he has given up just one earned run. That compares strangely to his home ERA of 6.52 spanning 9.67 innings in 12 games.

Morales says he just tries to throw each pitch for a strike and not think too much about those kinds of numbers. It certainly worked on Sunday.

Now, he said, its good to have an off-day.

Yeah, I need to rest, he said.

Pomeranz scratched from last start, could pitch out of bullpen in playoffs

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Pomeranz scratched from last start, could pitch out of bullpen in playoffs

NEW YORK -- With the postseason just over a week away, it didn't appear that Drew Pomeranz was going to be part of the Red Sox' starting rotation.

On Tuesday, that became official.

Pomeranz was scratched from his last scheduled start of the regular season Thursday with some soreness in his forearm. Henry Owens will take his turn against the Yankees.

"He's come out of this last start (in Tampa Bay) a little bit more sore,'' said John Farrell. "There's been a need for additinal recovery time (and there's also) the total number of innings pitched. There's a number of factors.

"The forearm area is where he's experiencing some discomfort. He needs a few extra days. So combined with his career high in innings pitched (169.1), we're backing him out of his last start.''

Farrell emphasized that Pomeranz hadn't been shut down for the season, but did say that if the lefty pitched again, it would be out of the bullpen.

"We need to get him back on a mound,'' Farrell said, "hopefully by the end of the week to determine what role he'll have in the bullpen going forward.''

The fact that the Red Sox were a win -- or a Toronto loss -- away from clinching the division and have the luxury of being careful didn't have an impact on the decision to hold him out.

"You always put the player's health at the forefront,'' said Farrell. "Is this increased risk with the higher number of innings, or additional needed recovery time? You factor those in. This is independent of the standings.''

Pomeranz appeared to have been squeezed out of playoff rotation, with the four spots going to Rick Porcello, David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez and Clay Buchholz.

In 13 starts, Pomeranz was 3-5 with a 4.68 ERA with the Red Sox after being obtained in a July trade with San Diego.

Two weeks ago, the Padres were disciplined for not fully disclosing all the necessary medical information with the Red Sox leading up to the deal, with GM A.J. Preller suspended for 30 days without pay.

It's unclear whether this injury is at all related to info the Padres withheld from the Red Sox.

"I can't really comment on that,'' Farrell said. "I do know what the player needs is some additional time. What's attached to that previously, I really don't have the specifics.''