Red Sox

Morales saves Red Sox bullpen with long outing

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Morales saves Red Sox bullpen with long outing

TORONTO After his outing Sunday afternoon, 4 13 scoreless innings against the Blue Jays, Franklin Morales was surprised to learn it was his longest outing since more than four years ago.

But I was a starter then, he said.

Yes, he was a starter on April 28, 2008, with the Rockies when he went 4 13 innings. His performance Sunday afternoon was his longest as a reliever.

Morales entered Sundays game with two outs and the bases loaded to take over after Daniel Bards dismal start.

The first couple innings was tough to watch, manager Bobby Valentine said. After that was easy to watch. Franklin was easy to watch, I guarantee that.

Franklin saved the day so we didnt have to abuse the bullpen, I guarantee that.

Morales gave up just two hits with no walks and four strikeouts. He combined with Scott Atchison and Rich Hill to keep the Jays off the scoreboard over the final 6 13 innings.

Morales was rested. He had pitched just twice in the previous week, a total of one inning and 28 pitches two-thirds of an inning and 22 pitches Thursday against the Tigers and one-third of an inning and six pitches May 27 against the Rays. But he more than doubled his previous career-high in innings pitched as a reliever in one outing (2.0) which he had done 12 times previously. Valentine checked with Morales at the end of each inning to make sure he was good to go out for the next one.

Yep, and he could have gone more, Valentine said. He felt great. He was rested and his stints havent been long really since spring training. But he has a good arm.

I didnt feel tired, Morales said. Sometimes if I dont throw a lot of pitches or a lot of innings, sometime I feel tired. But I feel very good today and my arm is good.

I know Monday is a day off and only what I do is make my pitches.

With the outing Morales lowered his ERA nearly a full run, from 4.41 to 3.48. He also lowered his already impressive road ERA more than a half run, from 1.35 to 0.82. In nine road games, spanning 11 innings, he has given up just one earned run. That compares strangely to his home ERA of 6.52 spanning 9.67 innings in 12 games.

Morales says he just tries to throw each pitch for a strike and not think too much about those kinds of numbers. It certainly worked on Sunday.

Now, he said, its good to have an off-day.

Yeah, I need to rest, he said.

Tyler Thornburg wants a normal spring, but don't be surprised if it's bumpy

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Tyler Thornburg wants a normal spring, but don't be surprised if it's bumpy

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. — Don’t confuse the goal of a normal spring training with the likelihood one will follow.

Tyler Thornburg’s time with the Red Sox has been an ordeal. He’s optimistic he can have a regular spring training after undergoing surgery to treat thoracic outlet syndrome in June, a surgery that included the removal of a rib which is now on display at his parents’ house. 

He said Saturday, in fact, there’s a “very good chance” of a normal spring. But there’s also a chance his build up to regular-season form runs unevenly. And that would be OK.

“I started throwing Oct. 2, that’s when they kind of gave me the go-ahead to go tossing,” Thornburg said Saturday at Winter Weekend. “So I’ve been building up slowly since then, just trying to make sure we don’t have any setbacks or things like that, and ramp it up at a good pace. I’m throwing at 120-140 feet, so it’s about the pace I’d normally be on, granted I’d know 100 percent before where I was [under normal circumstances]. So things could be a little different."

Consider a few other things Thornburg said Saturday at Foxwoods.

“I don’t really think any of us really know how quick I’m going to bounce back necessarily as far as how quickly the recovery’s going to go in spring training after an outing,” Thornburg said. “But hopefully I mean it’s fantastic, and we can kind of just keep going.”

A bit of natural uncertainty. He missed an entire season, and the reason he missed an entire season is had a lot going on medically. 

What appeared to be a shoulder injury was far from your usual, say, rotator cuff matter. His was a nerve issue.

“Two of the neck muscles were incredibly hypertrophied, like overgrown, and they just started squeezing on the brachial plexus, where all the nerves run down,” Thornburg said. “I’d be sitting there watching a game and just a nerve thing would hit me and I’d almost get knocked over by it. As well as the first rib was getting pulled up and my hand would just turn red some days if I was just standing there, cutting off the blood circulation. Then all the scar tissue and buildup along the nerves they had to go and dissect all that off there.”

So the injury wasn’t simple, and now, the recovery process is really a whole body matter. 

"There’s a lot off things your arm has to get used to between using different muscles, as well as my arm was kind of working through a scenario where it was trying to overcompensate for this and [trying] to relieve that,” Thornburg said. “So just worked a different way. Now your body has to remember how to actually properly work again. It’s a lot of neuromuscular stuff.”

Thornburg noted the possibility too he could be ready to go to start the season but not really ready to go back to back yet. Would the Sox then carry him on the big league roster, or continue to build him up elsewhere? 

Velocity won’t be there right away for Thornburg, he said: “But I mean that’s what spring training is for for most guys anyway.”

There’s a lot of optimism, but naturally, there’s a lot to be seen. 

“The rehab process, it's been a massive rollercoaster,” Thornburg said. “It really has. But I mean, I've been trying to take it week to week which has been a lot easier. There's the good days and bad days, just different kinds.”

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Kimbrel's newborn daughter treated in Boston for heart condition

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Kimbrel's newborn daughter treated in Boston for heart condition

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. — Coming off a phenomenal season, Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel spent the offseason in Boston. Not to be closer to Fenway Park, but for proximity to something far more important: the city’s first-rate medical community.

Kimbrel’s daughter, Lydia Joy, was born in November with a heart issue.

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“It’s been a lot,” Kimbrel said Saturday at Red Sox Winter Weekend at Foxwoods. “My wife and I, we’ve kept it kind of private. But when she was born, she had some heart defects so we decided to stay in Boston and work with Children’s Hospital and just been going through that ordeal and it’s had its ups and downs but she’s doing great right now."

Focusing wasn't always easy in season, but Kimbrel said his daughter's condition has motivated him even more.

“They always say when you have a child, things change and they have," he said. "I’m definitely more focused towards her and her needs and our family needs. It’s just one day at a time and give everything I got. It’s real easy to look at her and understand everything I’m doing is for her and it makes it a lot easier.”

Kimbrel and his wife, Ashley, found out early in the 2017 season that they would be staying in Boston for the winter and were preparing.

“Everything has kind of gone as planned so far,” Kimbrel said. “She’ll have another surgery during spring training, so I’ll come back to Boston for a week and do that, but it’s been good. It’s definitely been tough, but one of the happiest, joyful times of our life.”

"Being in Boston, we feel blessed, because the doctors are the best in the world. Being able to work with them has been great.”

Kimbrel said his wife has stayed in touch with Travis Shaw’s wife. The Shaw family has had a similar experience, Kimbrel said.

“It seems like they’re doing pretty good,” Kimbrel said. “It’s been very encouraging to see.”

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