As expected the Red Sox have scratched Josh Beckett from his scheduled Sunday start against the Twins due to a back injury, announcing that Franklin Morales will take his place.
Morales moving back into the rotation seemed possible as soon as the Red Sox traded for left-handed reliever Craig Breslow earlier this week, although for now at least the move isn’t permanent because Beckett remains on the active roster.
Beckett left Tuesday’s start in the third inning due to back spasms and missed much of 2010 with a back injury, but so far the Red Sox have indicated this issue isn’t particularly serious.
Morales had gone three years without starting when the Red Sox gave him a chance in the rotation in mid-June and he had a 3.42 ERA and 31/8 K/BB ratio in five starts, but then moved back into the bullpen for the past few weeks.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.