Rockies' Pitcher Morales Blames Bad Back For Bad 2008 Season

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DENVER (AP) - Franklin Morales went from postseason phenom to Minor Leaguer last season. Now, he's blaming a bad back for his fall from grace, something he didn't mention to the Colorado Rockies until the offseason.

The left-hander with a 98 mph fastball played a key role in the Rockies' first trip to the World Series two years ago. He revealed Thursday that he dealt with lower back pain almost all of last season.

He says the pain affected his velocity and forced him to throw more breaking pitches. It was the first time Franklin had publicly acknowledged his health was a factor in his fall.

Morales says his back is feeling fine now thanks to stretching exercises, strength training, massage therapy and weight loss. And he believes he can crack the Rockies' rotation this spring.

(Copyright 2009 By The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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