Cutting it up this time around

Eric D. Schabell
Contributing Writer

He has been out of the Red Sox rotation all of 2013, until Thursday night that is.

Franklin Morales was rehabbing a left pectoral strain since the start of this season, but he was also focusing on his cutter. Last year he threw the cutter only 1% of the time. That means one pitch out of a hundred, or almost never.

Thursday night he was back on the mound in Philadelphia throwing his cutter for effect. Over 5 innings, 79 pitches to win over the Phillies 9-2.

It appears he threw his cutter 7 times.

For those of us that are not clear on what a cutter does, it closely resembles the slider. It is supposed to look and spin like a fastball but for Franklin Morales, a lefty, it should cut down towards the right handed hitters right at the end. A slider will move in and down on the right handed hitter in a more fluid and constant fashion compared to the the cutter.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia was catching him Thursday night and stated that he has the ability to make his pitch work like a cutter or act more like a slider as desired. This is a powerful weapon for Franklin Morales moving forward in his career.

He seems to be down about 3 mph on his fastball, throwing it Thursday night at around 92 mph with a top speed of 94 mph. Last year he averaged just over 95 mph, 12th in the majors.

No one is worried about the loss of speed, as Franklin Morales is not yet up to full arm strength only working 5 innings. With regular appearances as a starter the speed should come back. Even more exciting is the use of the cutter along with working on his sinker in rehab.

These are strike out pitches.

This will be fun to watch.

Franklin Morales, welcome back, you have been missed.

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