Shortly after the final out of today’s loss to the Cubs the Red Sox announced that Josh Beckett has been scratched from his scheduled Sunday start due to shoulder inflammation.
Franklin Morales will make the start in his place, which is interesting because Morales has been strictly a reliever since the Red Sox acquired him from the Rockies in May of last year. He’s pitched well for Boston, throwing 56 innings with a 3.38 ERA and 51/19 K/BB ratio, but all 58 appearances have come in relief.
In fact, the last time Morales started a big-league game was for the Rockies on April 21, 2009. He lasted just two innings that day and has been a full-time reliever ever since. Morales is unlikely to pitch deep into the game Sunday even if he’s doing well, although he has gone three or more innings in an appearance twice within the past two weeks, throwing 52 and 36 pitches.
Beckett dealt with some shoulder/lat muscle problems last month, but he’s thrown at least seven innings in six consecutive starts and has a 2.68 ERA during that span.
The Braves have signed reliever Blaine Boyer to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. Bowman adds that the right-hander has a “good chance” to make the Braves’ bullpen out of spring training.
Boyer, 35, spent the past season with the Brewers, finishing with a 3.95 ERA and a 26/17 K/BB ratio in 66 innings.
Boyer, of course, started his professional baseball career with the Braves as they selected him in the third round of the 2000 draft. Since the Braves traded him in 2009, Boyer has pitched for the Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Mets, Padres, and Twins along with the Brewers.
Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.