CHICAGO -- Red Sox left fielder Carl Crawford's comeback appears to be picking up steam.

Crawford played catch at 110 feet before Saturday's game.

"He threw the ball really well," manager Bobby Valentine said. "He's going to take batting practice in a little while. Yesterday he hit it really well. I've got to think he's getting pretty close to playing in a baseball game."

No date has been mapped out for Crawford's Minor League rehab assignment. He hasn't played a game for the Red Sox this season.

Crawford was initially coming back from left wrist surgery, but he then suffered a strained UCL in his left elbow.

Center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury is currently training in Fort Myers, Fla., and could also be relatively close to a Minor League rehab assignment.

Ellsbury has been out since April 13, when he suffered a subluxation (dislocation) of his right shoulder.

Morales going back to roots with spot start

CHICAGO -- Though Franklin Morales has only pitched in the bullpen since joining the Red Sox, his move to the starting rotation on Sunday night won't be that unfamiliar for the left-hander.

Morales moved through the Colorado Rockies' farm system as only a starter, and his first 13 appearances in the Majors were in that role.

When Morales pitches against the Cubs in place of the injured Josh Beckett, it will be his first start since 2009.

"I don't want to change anything. I'm going to try to compete," Morales said. "I'm going to try to do what I can do, I try to control what I can control, throw strikes and try to get the hitter out."

He has done that nicely out of the bullpen, going 0-2 with a 3.04 ERA in 22 appearances.

"Well, he's pitched multiple innings, and he's pitched ahead in the count with quality stuff," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. "We'll see if he can't give us multiple innings again with pitching ahead in the count and quality stuff [as a starter]."

Morales hasn't had time to get stretched out for this start, but he did work 4 1/3 innings out of the bullpen on June 3 at Toronto.

"It depends on pitches per inning," Valentine said. "I think he can pitch more than five. Then we have the off-day with a stacked bullpen. Whatever he gives us should be fine."