Valentine: '(Morales) just wasn't good enough'

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Valentine: '(Morales) just wasn't good enough'

NEW YORK -- Since being shifted into the Red Sox starting rotation in early June, Franklin Morales has been a mostly effective starter.
Unless, that is, the opponent is the New York Yankees.
When he pitches against anyone other than the Yankees this season, Morales has a sparkling 2.60 ERA. When the Yankees are the opposition, however, Morales has pitched to a 9.53.
That dichotomy was on display against Friday night. Morales was tagged for four homers in 5 13 innings, saddled with the loss in a 6-4 loss to the Yankees.
It marked the second time this year that Morales has allowed four homers in a start against the Yanks. They also belted four homers off him at Fenway on July 7.
Against every other club, meanwhile, Morales has allowed just one other homer this year.
"I tried to throw my pitches," shrugged Morales, who gave up solo shots to Nick Swisher, Derek Jeter, Russell Martin and Curtis Granderson. "When you miss, that's going to happen. I wasn't thinking too much. I tried to attack the hitters. But like I say, when you miss your pitch with that team, somebody needs to pay and I paid today."
"They hit all of his pitches (for homers)," said Bobby Valentine, "so it wasn't any one pitch. He wasn't that bad. He just wasn't good enough."
As Morales took the mound in the bottom of the first, rain began to fall heavily at Yankee Stadium, making the job of facing the powerful New York lineup even more challenging.
"First inning, I think he was just getting used to the (wet) mound a little bit and trying to get comfortable,'' said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. "It's tough to throw a lot of pitches when it's wet and you're slipping everywhere. After that, he settled down and started to throw the ball real well and tried to keep it down."

Report: 1B Moreland 'could be on the cusp' of signing with Sox

Report: 1B Moreland 'could be on the cusp' of signing with Sox

According to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, free agent first-baseman Mitch Moreland “could be on the cusp of signing with the Boston Red Sox.”

Wilson writes that the Indians are also remain in the mix, but that a source indicated that the Red Sox were the “clear front-runner.”

The 31-year-old Moreland would add a left-handed bat to the Red Sox’ lineup following the retirement of David Ortiz. It would also give the Sox a body at first base after the team traded first baseman/third baseman Travis Shaw Tuesday. 

Last season, Moreland hit .233/.298/.422 with 22 homers and 60 RBI for the Rangers last season, also winning a Gold Glove at first base. He has a career batting average of .254 and posted a career-high 23 homers in the 2013 and 2015 seasons. 

Red Sox trade Shaw, prospects for reliever Thornburg

Red Sox trade Shaw, prospects for reliever Thornburg

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Red Sox got the bullpen help they were seeking Tuesday, but it came at a steep price.
     
The Sox obtained righthanded reliever Tyler Thornburg from the Milwaukee Brewers, but it cost them infielder Travis Shaw, highly regarded shortstop prospect Mauricio Dubon and pitching prospect Josh Pennington, according to an industry source.

In Thornburg, 28, the Red Sox get a hard-throwing reliever whom they control for the next three seasons. He became the Brewers' closer after the trade deadline last year and recorded 13 saves while posting a 2.15 ERA and avergaing 12.1 strikeouts per nine innings.
    
He will serve as the Red Sox' primary set-up option to get to closer Craig Kimbrel.
     
One potential issue for Thornburg is that he's dealt with some elbow issues in the recent past. As recently as 2014, it was thought that he might require Tommy John surgery, but he instead underwent PRP (platelt rich plasma) treatment and has remained healthy.

Given that the last set-up reliever obtained by Dombrowski, Carson Smith, underwent Tommy John surgery last season, Thornburg's injury history raises a caution flag.

In dealing Shaw, the Red Sox are now expecting Pablo Sandoval to be their primary third baseman -- at least in the near term.

Sandoval missed all but a few games in 2016 with a shoulder injury and his conditioning has been an issue since signing with the Red Sox two years ago.

The Red Sox have Brock Holt to help out at third in 2017, with both Yoan Moncada and Rafael Devers waiting in the wings.

Dubon is the second top prospect to be dealt by Dombrowski in the last 13 months. He included Javier Guerra in a package with three other prospects to obtain Kimbrel in November of 2015.

Dubon posted a .912 OPS in half a season at Portland last year and recently played in the Arizona Fall League. He has limited power, but strong athleticism and makes good contact.

Pennington is 20, a hard-throwing (94-98 mph) righthander who could profile either as a late-inning weapon or a starter. He's years away from the big leagues and has already undergone Tommy John surgery.

The Boston Herald was the first to report that the teams had made a trade. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com was the first to report the details.