Franklin Morales likely to begin season on disabled list

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Boston is going to be short on left-handed relievers early on.

Craig Breslow has all but been ruled out for Opening Day because of a sore shoulder and now Franklin Morales figures to join him on the disabled list to start the season.

Morales has a back injury and manager John Farrell told Ian Browne of MLB.com that “he’s kind of plateaued a little bit” and “started to feel some tightness there again” after throwing recently.

Morales was one of the few bright spots for the Red Sox’s pitching staff last season, splitting time between the rotation and bullpen while throwing 77 innings with a 3.77 ERA and 76/30 K/BB ratio. He’s slated to be a full-time reliever this year.

Erasmo Ramirez to be shut down with a minor lat strain

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Mariners right-hander Erasmo Ramirez has been shut down for two weeks with a minor lat strain, reports Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. It’s a precautionary move, as Ramirez felt some tightness in his arm and could not complete his scheduled bullpen session on Saturday.

There’s no word yet on whether Ramirez will be able to recover in time for the start of the season, though he’s expected to claim a rotation spot again this spring. The 28-year-old righty has been dogged by injuries throughout his six-year career, but finally managed to piece together a full season on the mound in back-to-back stints with the Rays and Mariners in 2017. He went 5-6 in 19 starts for the two clubs and turned in a cumulative 4.39 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 through 131 1/3 innings.

The Mariners are no stranger to pitcher injuries, either. They lost a number of their top arms to various elbow, arm and shoulder injuries last year and cycled through 40 total pitchers as they limped toward a 78-84 finish. Comments from club manager Scott Servais indicate that the team will keep a close eye on Ramirez throughout his recovery, though Divish notes that right-hander Andrew Moore and lefty Ariel Miranda could also slot into the no. 5 spot if Ramirez experiences further setbacks.