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.
Cubs starter Yu Darvish suffered a setback during Sunday’s rehab start with Low-A South Bend, The Athletic’s Jon Greenberg reports. Darvish threw just 19 pitches in the first inning and felt fine. However, when he took the mound to warm up ahead of the second inning, Darvish “felt something” in his injured right elbow. He exited the game to undergo an MRI.
Darvish’s condition isn’t yet known, but it’s obviously bad news. Darvish signed a six-year, $126 million contract in February and has made just eight starts this season. He owns a 4.95 ERA with 49 strikeouts and 21 walks in 40 innings and hasn’t pitched since May 20.
Darvish said he hopes to return before the end of the regular season to help the team. Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein is realistic about the situation. He said, “It’s a process. We’ll see how he feels. It’s been a long road back, so there’s no point in rushing it now. We probably have one chance given where we are on the calendar to get this right, so that’s the priority.”
Mike Montgomery has pitched out of the rotation in Darvish’s place but he is also currently on the disabled list. Tyler Chatwood, with a 5.22 ERA and 93 walks in 101 2/3 innings, was booted from the rotation at the end of July after the Cubs acquired Cole Hamels. The Cubs, entering Sunday 20 games over .500 and fewer than five games ahead of the Cardinals and Brewers in the NL Central, need some reliability at the back of the rotation.