Thursday, May 10, 2012

Josh Beckett

Beckett set to start Thursday
Bobby Valentine boils over
Valentine says Beckett did no harm playing golf

Beckett set to start Thursday

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Josh Beckett, who missed his start Saturday because of a sore lat muscle, is set to pitch Thursday when the Red Sox return home to face Cleveland.

“He threw today and said he felt fine and ready to go,’’ manager Bobby Valentine said Monday.

Beckett, who has a 2-3 record with a 4.45 earned run average in five starts, last pitched April 29 in Chicago.

Valentine does not expect Beckett to be restricted in terms of pitch count or innings against the Indians.

Valentine was asked why Beckett didn’t pitch in Saturday’s 17-inning game against Baltimore. He said only that pitching coach Bob McClure was “taking roll call.’’

Valentine said the only starter he talked tn personally about going into the game was Jon Lester, and he already had thrown a bullpen session.

The Sox ended up bringing in outfielder Darnell McDonald to work an inning and he gave up three runs to take the loss.

McDonald did not volunteer to pitch. He was told to warm up and go in.

“I’m not supposed to be out there in a tie game, I did the best I could,’’ he said.

“I was in a big league game that was tied up. You know what that felt like when I got on the mound? Wow.

“But they told me and I’m here to try and help the team win games.’’

No help needed

The Red Sox did not make a roster move before the game, deciding their bullpen could handle whatever was needed despite having thrown 25 ⅔ innings (outside of McDonald) over the previous three games.

“It would have meant taking somebody who doesn’t deserve to go down off the roster and considering no one pitched on consecutive days other than [Scott Atchison], we might have enough,’’ Valentine said. “Hope so.’’

One possibility may have been righthander Mark Melancon. He has thrown 8 ⅓ scoreless innings with 15 strikeouts and no walks since being demoted April 18.

“I have very good reports on him. His stuff has been good from what the reports say. Location, attitude. It sure seems like he’s pitching well enough,’’ Valentine said.


Shortstop Mike Aviles was back in Kansas City for the second time since the Royals traded him to the Red Sox last July.

Aviles hit .286 in 301 games for the Royals from 2008-11 before he was traded for righthander Kendal Volz and infielder Yamaico Navarro.

Volz is in Double A and Navarro is now with the Pirates.

“It feels pretty good. Last year, it was pretty weird. This time it isn’t as weird. It’s definitely good,’’ Aviles said. “It’s always good to see the guys and to come back to where you started, so I’m excited.

“I wanted to make sure that I got a good sleep last night so I could be extra hyper today because I like coming here and I’ve always liked playing in this park.’’

Aviles has hit .290 with a .773 OPS for the Red Sox since the trade and this season emerged as the starting shortstop.

Checking it out

General manager Ben Cherington accompanied the team on the trip and spent some time before the game meeting with McClure … Aaron Cook had a pressurized brace on his left knee to try to reduce the swelling. He is on the disabled list after getting spiked and suffering a deep cut Saturday. Cook said trainers are checking him several times a day for signs of infection … Will Middlebrooks, who homered in the first and eighth innings, has had at least one extra-base hit in each of his first four games. Only four players have done that since 1918. Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes also did it this year. Enos Slaughter (1938) and Coco Laboy (1969) are the others.

Michael Vega of the Globe staff contributed to this report; Peter Abraham can be reached at

Bobby Valentine boils over

It has taken every conceivable shape and size, from the sharp daggers of late-inning losses to the drawn-out torture of a 17-inning defeat.

And last night, manager Bobby Valentine finally hit his boiling point.

It wasn’t so much that the Red Sox lost again, 4-3, to the Kansas City Royals and slid back to six games below .500, their lowest point since April 21. It was the way that it happened, with successive defensive misplays in the first inning and a blown opportunity to tie the game in the ninth.

In particular, though, Valentine was incensed at home plate umpire Jim Nelson, who ruled that Marlon Byrd didn’t pull back his bat in time to avoid being hit by a pitch on a ninth-inning bunt attempt, a call that cost the Red Sox a chance to have the bases loaded and nobody out.

“Guys battled their butts off,” Valentine said. “That’s a damn shame. (Expletive) umpire can’t make a right call and get help? It’s a damn shame is what it is. Be stubborn. It’s not his job to call the play. Just get help. If they can’t get it right, they should ask for help. Why the (expletive) is it so hard to ask for help at the end of the game when they could do it at the beginning of the game?”

Trailing by one run in the ninth and facing hard-throwing Royals closer Jonathan Broxton, the Red Sox put the tying and go-ahead runs on base when Cody Ross singled and Jarrod Saltalamacchia walked. Byrd tried to drop down a sacrifice bunt when the ball hit him on the hand.

But Nelson didn’t award him first base. A few pitches later, Byrd successfully bunted the runners over, but that wasn’t the point, according to Valentine.

“(Nelson) refused to ask for help,” Valentine said. “He refused to ask for help.”

Still, the Red Sox had chances to at least tie the game, and in the end, it was the play of the teams’ respective outfields that determined the outcome.

After Byrd advanced the runners, Ryan Sweeney hit a sinking liner that was caught by sliding Royals left fielder Alex Gordon, who got to his feet and threw the ball into the infield, preventing pinch-runner Darnell McDonald from attempting to tag and score. Earlier in the game, Gordon stole an extra-base hit from Adrian Gonzalez with a leaping catch near the wall.

It was a sharp contrast to the first inning when Byrd misjudged Johnny Giavotella’s liner to center field and Ross fumbled Brayan Pena’s drive to left after hauling it in on the run and taking two steps on the warning track. The plays led to three Royals runs against starter Jon Lester [stats] and left the Red Sox in an early hole.

“I thought I caught the ball, took a couple good steps, then went to go brace myself against the chain-link fence, and the ball just came out,” Ross said. “I really didn’t think anything of it. When I saw it pop out, I just kind of grabbed it, turned around, and I expected to run off the field. I guess he thought I didn’t catch it.”

For the record, Valentine agreed with the umpires’ ruling in that instance, especially after they conferred and came up with a decision. But after another miserable loss, the Red Sox’ eighth in the last 10 games, the frustration was evident in all corners of the clubhouse.

“It sucks,” Lester said. “Nobody in this clubhouse came to this team expecting to lose. Everybody in this clubhouse wants to win. Everybody grinds their (butt) off every night. We’re just not doing it, plain and simple.”

Valentine says Beckett did no harm playing golf

Bobby Valentine said at his pregame session that he spoke to pitcher Josh Beckett about his golf outing with Clay Buchholz last Thursday and seemed satisfied that Beckett did not put himself in peril.

Beckett can control his own news cycle on this topic with a strong performance Thursday, or he can drag this out if the tight lat for which he missed his last start crops up again. It's up to him.

"I've never seen a pitcher get hurt playing golf," Valentine said.

"I talked to Josh and he's ready to go," the manager said.

Valentine didn't seem to think Beckett had any real restrictions on him.

"We'll see how it goes," Valentine said.

Buchholz, Beckett's golf partner, said "it's no big deal," and that Beckett would never put himself in a position to injure himself.

In other news:

* As we reported first, Daniel Nava is up and Clay Mortensen is down.

Valentine said he spoke to Mortensen at 3:45 a.m., when the team arrived in Boston from Kansas City and told him that "baseball, like life, isn't fair" and that he was heading back to Pawtucket for a while.

Mortensen is one of the few pitchers who has options. The Sox would not want to risk losing some of their other bullpen pieces to waivers.

"I don't know that Clay could have done any more than he did," Valentine said.

Mortensen, acquired from Colorado in the Marco Scutaro deal, allowed one earned run in 9 1/3 innings (0.96) with 12 strikeouts and no walks. He had a WHIP of 0.643.

Nava hit.435 with runners in scoring position for Pawtucket and was to start in left field for the Red Sox Thursday night.

* Kevin Youkilis is feeling better and could soon begin baseball activities. Valentine said Youkilis would start playing catch either today or Friday.

* Carl Crawford indicated he's at least two weeks away from throwing.

* Jacoby Ellsbury has picked up his activity.

* Valentine said the 12-18 start is "all my responsibility." He was asked about the negative perception of the team and he indicated that he felt the team effort was "terrific" and that "we need to erase the negative feeling (from last season) and "we have done nothing in the first month to erase those feelings."

*Valentine said Will Middlebrooks would not be considered for the outfield. Valentine said a couple of people in the Sox organization mentioned the possibility, but Valentine said, "It's not an option at this time."

* Johnny Damon, the Indians' left fielder, spoke to the media before the game.

Asked whether he or Derek Lowe, tonight's Indians' starter would get a bigger ovation he said, "Probably Derek. I went over to the Yankees and then Tampa Bay and I know there are people who hold that against me. I think a lot of people understand how I play the game, but I understand what ever happens."

Asked about his quest for 3,000 hits, "If it happens it happens. The way I'm swinging the bat now it'll take me 10 years."

Damon said the Red Sox never called him.

Damon said he understood teams being leery of his defense, but he felt that the more he plays, the better he'll get after being a designated hitter most of last season with Tampa Bay

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...