OAKLAND -- Red Sox lefty Franklin Morales, currently on the disabled list with left shoulder inflammation, looks forward to having an entire winter to train for being a starter.
Morales had mainly pitched as a reliever in recent years before becoming a starter for the Red Sox on the fly in June.
"I want to be a starter and work out and do what I need to do and make sure everything is going to be fine," Morales said.
Everything had been going well for him as a starter until he hit a sharp bump in the road in his final two starts.
The last time he pitched was against the Angels on Aug. 23, when he lasted just 2 2/3 innings.
"You know what? I think that day I felt very good and pretty strong and on one pitch, I felt something different in my body," Morales said. "I felt a little pinching. It's tough to throw like that."
Morales, who is eligible to come off the disabled list on Sept. 8, is confident he will be able to pitch before the season ends and hopes to return to the rotation.
"Yeah, I will [be back]," Morales said. "I like [starting], man. I try to do the best what I can every time. That's good for me and for the team. I try to throw and pitch and enjoy it."
Valentine musters up some optimism
OAKLAND -- Fresh off a 20-2 pounding against the Athletics that completed a 9-20 August, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was still able to muster some optimism as he arrived to work for the first day of September.
This, despite the fact the team is undermanned both because of injuries (David Ortiz, Will Middlebrooks) and last week's trade which jettisoned Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to the Dodgers.
Valentine was asked specifically what he is looking for from his team in September.
"Good play," the manager said. "Hope for guys to keep building their individual statistics and hope that they collectively build the team statistics. I think we're going to win a lot of games this last month."
What gives Valentine reason to think his team can win a lot of games down the stretch of what has been a thoroughly disappointing season?
"Why shouldn't I think that? Because I'm the manager of the team and we get paid to play and win, and I believe that we're going to win," Valentine said.
It has been a trying first season in Boston for Valentine, who has one year left on his contract.
In an interview with The Boston Globe, Red Sox chairman Tom Werner declined to offer insight on whether Valentine would manage the team in 2013.
"I don't really want to get into that today," Werner told the newspaper. "I don't want to talk too much about him. But he's had a challenging year. I think, as we've said before, he's doing a good job. I don't really want to [look toward next year]. I think we all thought we'd bounce back more this year."
Friday was a clear low point, considering it was the first time the Red Sox had allowed 20 runs in a game in more than three years, and the first time since at least 1918 five different pitchers were taken deep in the same game.
Is a team meeting needed after such a thorough pounding?
"I saw a lot of the guys today individually," Valentine said. "Pitchers needed a little someone to talk to, that's for sure. The hitters are trying their darndest and standing out on the field a long time. We'll be all right."
There was one interesting lineup adjustment for Saturday's game. Jacoby Ellsbury was moved back to the leadoff spot while 36-year-old Scott Podsednik batted third for the first time in his career.
Valentine was cryptic about the lineup move.
"Just a mistake. Is that what it says on the lineup? What the [heck]," Valentine said. "Switch it up. Who knows? Maybe it will look good. I haven't seen it."
Iglesias gets a rest; he'll start Sunday
OAKLAND -- Mike Aviles was back at shortstop for the Red Sox on Saturday while Jose Iglesias got the night off.
The Red Sox will spend a lot of time evaluating Iglesias down the stretch. Thus far, Iglesias is 0-for-12 with no walks since he was promoted Aug. 25.
Known for his defense, Iglesias hasn't gotten much of a chance to display it.
"I haven't seen much of him this year," said manager Bobby Valentine. "He's only been here about 10 days, and interestingly enough, when he plays in the field, he hasn't gotten many balls. His at-bats will hopefully get better."
Is there any reason in particular -- aside from a short sample size -- that Iglesias hasn't reached safely yet?
"He doesn't look very fluid right now," Valentine said. "A little tight maybe."
How much will Iglesias play for the rest of the season?
"He'll play," Valentine said. "He'll get his playing time. He'll probably play [Sunday] -- I anticipate that."