Morales shut down; Victorino still hurting

April, 27, 2013
4/27/13
6:08
PM ET
BOSTON -- Red Sox left-hander Franklin Morales has been shut down with a pectoral strain, manager John Farrell said Saturday.

Morales, originally placed on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain, was well into a rehab that began with extended spring training games and included a three-inning appearance for Class A Greenville on April 17. However, he was scratched from a scheduled rehab outing for Double-A Portland earlier in the week, and an MRI later revealed the strain.

Farrell said that the shut-down period will last five days. Thursday was the first day, meaning Morales may be able to start a new throwing program by Tuesday. Given Morales' shoulder issues at the end of the 2012 season and various ailments this spring, there will be no rush to the process.

"How long it takes remains to be seen," Farrell said.

As Morales progressed earlier this month he was a nice candidate, along with Alfredo Aceves, to pick up spot starts in the event of injuries. Aceves has since been demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket on the heels of a miserable outing, leaving Allen Webster, who made his major league debut Sunday against Kansas City, as a more likely candidate.

None of that matters if the Opening Day rotation remains intact once John Lackey returns Sunday for his first start since an injury-shortened outing in Toronto on April 6. The right-hander, who threw 3 2/3 innings Monday at Portland, is completely clear of any symptoms related to the biceps strain that shelved him.

Farrell would not put a number on how many pitches Lackey can throw but said he should be good to reach the middle innings, provided Lackey is effective.

As for that effectiveness, Farrell expects to see it. He said that Lackey, in the limited time since his return from Tommy John surgery, has looked a lot like he did in a solid second half of 2010.

"Whether in spring training or the first start back in Toronto, I see a guy who's pitching much like he did in the second half of that year," Farrell said.

Lackey had a 3.97 ERA in 15 starts after the All-Star break in 2010, eventually leading the staff in starts and innings pitched.

In other injury news:

* Right fielder Shane Victorino remains out of the lineup for the third straight game and is questionable for Sunday as he wrestles with a back issue. Farrell indicated that there is a good chance that Victorino will sit again Sunday and the team can then utilize Monday's day off to give him an extended break and "get ahead of this" injury.

The assumption is that Ryan Lavarnway will be sent down to make room on the roster for Lackey, but nothing is set in stone until Victorino improves.

"[Lavarnway's] spot could be the one that's adjusted for John. We have to get through the next 48 hours with Shane as well to determine any other moves," Farrell said.

Jackie Bradley Jr. made a rare start in right field for Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday and was penciled into that spot again Saturday, a strong indication that the organization is making preparations for a more extended period of time without Victorino.

* Right-hander Joel Hanrahan, sidelined with a hamstring strain, felt a slight twinge on one pitch in his rehab outing with Pawtucket on Friday, but otherwise got through his one inning of work just fine. He allowed two runs on two hits, including a homer, and struck out one. Hanrahan will make one more rehab appearance Sunday and could rejoin the team when it begins a six-game road trip in Toronto on Tuesday.

* Also continuing to rehab this weekend is Craig Breslow, who will throw both Saturday and Sunday as he works his way back from a shoulder issue. Breslow failed to record an out and gave up three runs in his first outing Tuesday in Portland.

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