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Scutaro given the night off

Receives injection for pinched nerve

Arizona third baseman Mark Reynolds bobbles the ball before recovering to make the catch on a popup by Kevin Youkilis. Arizona third baseman Mark Reynolds bobbles the ball before recovering to make the catch on a popup by Kevin Youkilis. (Barry Chin/Globe Staff)
By Amalie Benjamin
Globe Staff / June 16, 2010

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After suffering from elbow and neck pain, shortstop Marco Scutaro received a nerve root injection in his neck Monday, a day off for the Red Sox. The injury has sapped Scutaro of the strength in his left arm, not allowing him to lift weights. While the Sox thought an initial injection of cortisone in his elbow would relieve the issue, they determined that the pinched nerve in his neck was the source of the problem.

“We all play with pains and stuff like that,’’ Scutaro said. “We just pretty much have pain everywhere every day. And then when the game starts, you start feeling better, stuff like that. Later in the night when you go to bed, it gets a little worse and then the next morning is totally bad. That’s pretty much the routine every day.’’

Scutaro, who wanted to start last night but was replaced by Bill Hall, is likely to be back in the lineup tonight against the Diamondbacks.

“I think just talking to all the medical people, it sounded like if we could give him one more day to let everything work, he would be better off long-term, so that’s what we’ll do,’’ said manager Terry Francona.

Asked if he might need another shot at some point this season, Scutaro said, “Hopefully [this was] the last one.’’

“He’s been really good about not complaining about it,’’ Francona said. “So if it’s been bothering him, which I don’t doubt, he hasn’t said much.

“He really likes to play. I think he’s afraid if he says something to us, we won’t play him. He’s been doing a good job with the medical people, keeping it under control, but I think we kind of pointed to this day off to get it done.’’

Filling in for Scutaro at shortstop, Hall made one of the better defensive plays of the game. Hall snagged a ball behind the second-base bag to end the seventh inning.

“Very valuable,’’ Francona said of his utilityman. “He’s given us a lot of flexibility. With guys being hurt or nicked up, he’s been able to play left, right, center, second, short. Third’s probably his best position, we haven’t put him over there.’’

Look for Doubront
While Francona would not name Friday’s starter, a team source said it was likely that lefthander Felix Doubront will make his major league debut that night against the Dodgers. Doubront has been on the minor league disabled list (shin contusion), though it was mostly to limit his innings. He has made four starts in Triple A, going 2-1 with a 1.08 ERA.

“Friday’s a TBA,’’ Francona said before the game. “We’re going to give everybody an extra day’s rest. It’s not going to be a bullpen day.

“It won’t be Billy Hall.’’

Doubront is scheduled to start for the PawSox Friday.

Friday’s start would be in place of Daisuke Matsuzaka, who went on the DL with a forearm strain Saturday. Matsuzaka spent yesterday doing his shoulder program and cardio before going outside to play catch.

“I think he’s feeling pretty good,’’ Francona said. “The throwing will certainly be a little bit of a gauge on where he is.’’

Getting his kicks
Victor Martinez was sitting in the clubhouse yesterday, decked out in full Brazil attire — including a yellow Ronaldinho jersey — and his chair was pulled in front of the television. The catcher was hanging on every moment of Brazil’s 2-1 win over North Korea in the World Cup, coming over and shouting at Scutaro (in the middle of a media interview) when Brazil scored its first goal. Martinez, like Scutaro, is from Venezuela. He explained that because Brazil borders Venezuela, many Venezuelans root for Brazil, as their country has never qualified for the World Cup. When it was time to change into his Sox gear for batting practice, Martinez left his Brazil jersey hanging by his locker. Manny Delcarmen also brought out the soccer duds. He has a Mexico shirt hanging by his locker.

Earlier start tomorrow
Tomorrow’s game against the Diamondbacks was moved up an hour, to 6:10 p.m., in deference to Game 7 of the NBA Finals. The Fenway Park gates will open at 4:10 p.m. and NESN’s pregame coverage will begin at 5 . . . Josh Beckett played long toss Monday to 120 feet, then had a lighter day yesterday. The plan includes playing catch to 120 feet today, then perhaps 150 feet tomorrow. He’ll have a day off after that, then the Sox will judge how he feels from there. He would move to a bullpen session after that. “I think we really want to be aggressive with his long toss,’’ Francona said. “When you start getting out to 150, he’s got to let it loose pretty good. How often we do that, a lot of it’s going to depend on how he feels.’’ . . . Kevin Youkilis made an error in the first inning, allowing Miguel Montero to reach. It was Youkilis’s first error since a miscue at third base Oct. 2, 2009, and his first error at first base since April 8, 2009 . . . The Diamondbacks traded outfielder Conor Jackson to Oakland, getting back minor league closer Sam Demel . . . Daniel Nava came back to earth last night, striking out three times and walking once in his first chance at the leadoff spot. Nava was replaced by Darnell McDonald after the sixth inning . . . Although Clay Buchholz got his sixth win in his last seven starts, he ended a string of six straight quality starts by not finishing the sixth inning.

Amalie Benjamin can be reached at abenjamin@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter@amaliebenjamin.

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