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Beckett hit in head by batted ball

Mild concussion symptoms shown

Josh Beckett holds his head as he is led from the field after being hit by a ball during BP before yesterday’s game. Josh Beckett holds his head as he is led from the field after being hit by a ball during BP before yesterday’s game. (Brita Meng Outzen/Associated Press)
By Michael Vega
Globe Staff / March 1, 2011

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett had another spring training mishap yesterday.

Beckett was shagging flies during batting practice before a Grapefruit League game against the Twins at City of Palms Park, when he was struck on the left side of his head by a baseball.

The ball was hit by staff assistant Ino Guerrero, who was attempting to hit balls with his fungo bat from the outfield, where the pitchers were standing, to a shag bucket near second base.

“I think it him on the temple,’’ said manager Terry Francona, who was on the back field when the accident happened. “I bet you it felt like a bolt of lightning. It’s not what you’re really expecting. It was just a fluke thing.’’

Beckett walked off under his own power and went to the clubhouse. After complaining of a headache, Beckett was examined by a team doctor and was eventually sent home. The team said the pitcher exhibited symptoms of a mild concussion; he will be re-evaluated today.

“We’ll check on him again to see what level of a workout he can do, or should do,’’ Francona said.

Asked if he spoke with Guerrero afterward, Francona replied, “I called him an [expletive].’’

On Feb. 15, Francona struck Beckett in the face with a cloth ball during a drill at the player development complex.

Last year, he came down with flu-like symptoms toward the end of spring training, and three years ago he was hampered by a bad back in camp.

“He’ll be all right,’’ Francona said. “He’s got a hard head.’’

Fast times Daisuke Matsuzaka made his first appearance of the spring during the Red Sox’ 7-6 win over the Twins, and threw two innings (18 pitches, 11 strikes). He walked one, had one strikeout, and gave up a solo home run by Jason Kubel with two out in the first inning.

“The fastball [was] running pretty well and that’s something I’m very confident with,’’ Matsuzaka said through an interpreter. “Overall, I think I did a very good job as a first outing.’’

Francona agreed with Matsuzaka’s take on his fastball. “Very good velocity,’’ the manager said. “It was exciting to see that, especially early on. Very aggressive with his fastball. Had some good life to it. I was very excited about that.’’

Francona also liked Andrew Miller’s impressive sixth inning in relief of Daniel Bard, with whom Miller was teammates at North Carolina. Miller threw seven pitches, all strikes, and recorded back-to-back strikeouts before inducing pinch hitter Brian Dozier to ground to short.

“That was really fun to watch,’’ Francona said. “That’s about as good an inning as you’re ever going to see.’’

Miller, a 6-foot-7-inch lefty, had control issues when he was with the Marlins, going 1-5 (8.54 ERA) in nine games last season. The former first-round pick in the 2006 draft (Detroit, sixth overall) is with the Sox as non-roster invitee.

“Being with a new team, having an inning like that, is nice,’’ Miller said.

Jenks progresses Bobby Jenks threw his second simulated inning of the spring against live hitters and showed progress. “His arm speed was a little better today than it was the other day,’’ said pitching coach Curt Young. “Command was a little better today, so you like that progress.’’ Jenks will make his first spring appearance Thursday afternoon against the Phillies at City of Palms. “I’ve never thrown this late before,’’ said Jenks, who missed the last 25 games of the 2010 season with the White Sox because of tendinitis in his right forearm. “I’ve never thrown four bullpens and two BPs to live hitters before. I guess it’s working. It was Curt’s idea. He just wanted to get a better look, a better feel off the mound before we jumped into anything.’’ . . . Josh Reddick, who had a torrid spring last season, hit a two-run homer in the seventh that hit the scoreboard in left and scored Ryan Kalish (single) to give the Sox a 7-6 lead. “I was just going to try and poke it over the shortstop to give us some base runners, but luckily the wind was blowing out for us and I was able to get under it just enough,’’ Reddick said. “I don’t think anybody’s 100 percent on their timing yet, so that’s still a work in progress, but I feel confident I can improve my swing and keep working and get to that caliber I was at last spring.’’ Asked about David Ortiz’s three-run homer over the right-field fence in the third, Reddick gushed, “Made mine look like a wimp shot. That ball was crushed. Into the wind. And it still went out of the stadium.’’

Michael Vega can be reached at vega@globe.com.

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