Franklin Morales' future with the Red Sox is in jeopardy

Things are not looking good for Red Sox pitcher Franklin Morales as he's traveling back to Boston to receive additional diagnosis and treatment for his ailing lower back. Morales was a key member (again it was the 2012 season so take that with a grain of salt) of the 2012 Red Sox pitching staff ending the year with a 3-4 record, 3.77 ERA in 37 games last season.

Morales provided relief (pun absolutely intended) for the starting rotation by starting nine games during the 2012 season. He went 3-3 with a 4.14 ERA during those starts and was suppose to fulfill that role heading into the 2013 season. It seems as though plans have changed due to his injured back.

“He’s been undergoing treatment here, but hasn’t really made the improvements that we had hoped for. So we just had him checked,” Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in Fort Myers before Thursday’s game. “He’ll be back here (Thursday) and we’ll have more of a detailed update once he returns. I don’t have any findings or specific reports coming from that exam.”

With Morales down for the count (again pun intended) the Red Sox will have to look elsewhere to fill his role as a long-reliever and periodic starter. Farrell already has someone in mind.

“If you’re looking at a sixth starter, Alfredo (Aceves) would be the guy we’d stretch out first,” Farrell said

With all the drama Aceves has caused - for the Red Sox and most recently the World Baseball Classic - I'm surprised Farrell would look to him as the heir apparent. The Sox will receive more information regarding the future of Morales after his appointments with the specialist in Boston.

If Morales is incapacitated at the start of the season it could pose serious concerns for Boston moving forward. The Red Sox bullpen is already shorthanded and with Franklin on the sidelines the Sox will need to get creative with their opening day roster.

Follow Scott Levesque on Twitter at @scottlevesque.