© 2012 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

09/09/12 2:55 PM ET

Valentine hints that Aceves might replace Dice-K

BOSTON -- There's a chance that Daisuke Matsuzaka has started his last game for the Red Sox.

A day after the right-hander's latest poor outing, manager Bobby Valentine indicated there's a possibility Alfredo Aceves could replace Dice-K in the rotation.

"I'm not sure," said Valentine. "We're going to have some meetings here with him, too. He was very disappointed yesterday, and so was I."

Since taking Aceves out of the closer's role a couple of weeks ago, the Red Sox have been gradually stretching him out with the idea he might get a chance to start.

Have a question about the Red Sox?
Ian BrowneE-mail your query to MLB.com Red Sox beat reporter Ian Browne for possible inclusion in a future Inbox column. Letters may be edited for brevity, length and/or content.
First Name, Last Initial:


Email Address:


What disappointed Valentine most about Matsuzaka's 1 1/3-inning performance on Saturday?

"I was disappointed he didn't come out in the second inning the way he threw in the first inning. There's got to be a way of replicating," Valentine said.

Many pitchers have come back strong from Tommy John surgery, so Valentine doesn't think health is the reason for Matsuzaka's struggles.

"I don't think it's related to the surgery," Valentine said.

Matsuzaka has made seven starts this season, going 1-5 with a 7.20 ERA.

Morales unlikely to pitch again this year

BOSTON -- It doesn't sound like left-hander Franklin Morales will throw another pitch this season.

Morales is dealing with left shoulder inflammation and even though he hasn't pitched since Aug. 23, there is still some discomfort.

Manager Bobby Valentine indicated Morales will undergo an MRI.

"We're going to get a photograph of his shoulder just to make sure we know what we're looking at," Valentine said. "He's a little hesitant right now, because he doesn't feel 100 percent strength-wise. So he's on a real holding pattern."

With the Red Sox out of contention, there's little reason to rush Morales back from an injury.

"Talking with him, he just doesn't feel 100 percent," said Valentine. "He thinks he can pitch. He thinks he can throw. He's throwing long toss. But at this time of the season, if a guy has any qualms about his condition, we put [him] on the backburner."

Conversely, Valentine is confident lefty Felix Doubront will keep pitching every fifth day, despite having already surpassed a professional high in innings pitched.

A determination will be made after Doubront throws a side session in the next day or two. As of now, he's scheduled to face the Yankees on Thursday.

"He feels really good," Valentine said. "He says he feels healthy. We're going to see what his [bullpen session] looks like."

Ellsbury goes deep after being dropped to No. 6 hole

BOSTON -- Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine expressed the hope before Sunday's game against the Blue Jays that Jacoby Ellsbury could soon get "as hot as a firecracker."

Batting sixth for the first time this season, Ellsbury promptly drilled a two-run homer in his first at-bat. It was just his third home run on the season.

Ellsbury entered the game hitting .257 with two homers and 16 RBIs.

Valentine said moving Ellsbury down in the order wasn't a demotion or a reflection of his recent performance.

"Well, I'm not dropping him. I'm trying to mix the grouping up a little to see if we can get more runs on the board," Valentine said. "I also want to see [Ryan] Kalish play a little up early in the lineup."

Kalish batted leadoff for Sunday's game.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.