BOSTON -- Franklin Morales is back in the Red Sox bullpen after a successful stint as a starter.
With just one left-handed reliever available (Andrew Miller) and five healthy starters, the Red Sox decided to move Morales back to the 'pen. Still, the lefty could resurface in Boston's rotation this season.
"Morales gives us two left-handers in the bullpen now," manager Bobby Valentine said following Tuesday's 7-5 loss to the White Sox. "We could always have him start if we need him. But it was the logical choice. He's the only guy really of the six [starters] who has been in the bullpen before. It's not a permanent move, but he's going to do whatever it takes to help the team."
The decision ends the six-man rotation the Sox used coming out of the All-Star break. Boston's rotation now consists of Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Aaron Cook and Felix Doubront.
Morales entered the rotation in mid-June, when Beckett went on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. He allowed 10 earned runs in 26 1/3 innings over five starts, going 2-1 with a 3.42 ERA. Morales struck out 31 against eight walks and held opponents to a .220 average. He threw a season-high 109 pitches on June 28 against the Mariners.
"It's a hard decision," said Red Sox pitching coach Bob McClure. "That's the way baseball is sometimes. He's 26 and has a long career ahead of him. He's good with it. He wants to start, we know that. He's 26 and we think he has a future in him.
"It's so hard, not for the starting pitchers as much as it is for the bullpen, not having that other guy down there. You have one screwy or extra-inning game, you're [in trouble], and [in trouble] for a while, too."
Morales worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning on Tuesday in his first relief appearance since July 4.