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Red Sox Notebook

No decision on whether Beckett is DL-bound

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / August 2, 2012
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A day after Josh Beckett came off the mound because of a back injury, the Red Sox have not decided whether he will go on the disabled list. Beckett told the coaching staff and general manager Ben Cherington Wednesday that he was a little stiff after having back spasms on the mound in the third inning against the Tigers Tuesday.

“Not surprisingly,” manager Bobby Valentine said before the Sox lost to the Tigers, 7-5. “He had spasms and he’s a big guy. We don’t know how to read that other than, when Ben talked to him, it didn’t seem like a 15-day stint or anything. We’ll just play it by ear.”

For now, Beckett (5-9) is scheduled to start against the Twins Sunday.

“It’ll all be predicated on [his next] bullpen session, which isn’t until at least [Thursday], maybe the next day where he’ll test it,” Valentine said.

Lefthander Franklin Morales, a reliever who has made five starts this season, is being held in reserve in case he is needed Sunday.

“Let’s say that we’ll err on the side of caution with him,” Valentine said. “There’s not a formal plan for him to make a start but he is definitely in the wings.”

Fans booed Beckett when he came off the mound with an injury. That was a topic of conversation in Boston Tuesday and at Fenway Park. “I didn’t get a feel for it. I’ve heard about it,” Valentine said “Fans pay their money to be part of our experience and if someone’s displeased with my walking out on the field, someone’s swing, their throw or someone walking off the field, they’re paying for the right to be displeased and to express whatever they want to express. I think when a guy gets hurts and he comes off the field, I’m not sure that’s the time to boo someone, personally. To each their own.”

Lavarnway recalled

The Red Sox called up catcher Ryan Lavarnway from Pawtucket. Outfielder Daniel Nava was placed on the 15-day DL with what the team termed a sprained left wrist. Nava is the 23d player to go on the DL this season, believed to be a team record. According to Stats Inc., it is the most in the majors since records were kept starting in 1987.

Lefthanded reliever Craig Breslow, obtained from Arizona Tuesday, was added to the roster and pitched 1 scoreless innings, giving up one hit with two strikeouts. Righthander Clayton Mortensen was optioned to Pawtucket. Breslow took No. 32, the same number as Matt Albers, who was sent to the Diamondbacks with Scott Podsednik in the trade.

Lavarnway hit .295 with an .815 OPS in 83 games with Pawtucket. He had eight home runs and 43 RBIs. Lavarnway’s time in Boston might be brief. He will provide a righthanded bat with Mike Aviles recovering from turf toe and an extra catcher with Kelly Shoppach healing from a bruised shin. Aviles is a day or two away. Shoppach got treatment before the game and was available. The Red Sox were left a little thin in the outfield as a result of the move. Lavarnway, 24, has caught on a regular basis for the first time this year.

“I’ve got to tell you, it’s a lot different than DH-ing half the time,” Lavarnway said. “It’s more of a physical grind, and I think I’ve already caught 20 more games than I’ve ever caught in a year. But I’ve got a great postgame routine, I’m staying in shape a lot better this year, working on my flexibility, and my body feels great.”

Lavarnway arrived in the Sox clubhouse just ahead of Breslow. Both are Yale products. Breslow graduated in 2002, and Lavarnway left after his junior year in 2008.

Might Lavarnway not be the smartest player on the roster now?

“I’ve never claimed to be the smartest guy in any room,” Lavarnway said, “but it might be the first time that people don’t give me credit for it.”

Ortiz improves

David Ortiz took batting practice in the cage and is moving around much better. Once his strained right Achilles’ tendon allows him to run, Ortiz will be activated off the disabled list. “The doctors checked me out every day, found less tendinitis on my Achilles’, so that’s good,’’ said Ortiz. “If I continue getting better and I am pain-free walking, I’ll start doing some running things.”

Bailey gets going

Andrew Bailey started his minor league rehab assignment with the Gulf Coast League Red Sox, throwing a scoreless inning. He gave up one hit and struck out two. Bailey is expected to pitch 6-8 innings before he is activated. The righthander has been out all season recovering from thumb surgery . . . Righthander Scott Atchison will be in Pensacola, Fla., to have his elbow examined by Dr. James Andrews. Team doctors found a torn ulnar collateral ligament Monday and Andrews will offer a second opinion. Tommy John surgery is the expected outcome. “I figured there was some kind of tear at this point in my career,” said Atchison, 36 . . . Rich Hill, out with a strained flexor tendon in his elbow, is set for another bullpen session Thursday and hopes to throw live batting practice after that.

Sweeney in a cast

Ryan Sweeney, his left arm in a cast, returned to the clubhouse following surgery Tuesday. He broke a knuckle when he punched a metal door in anger after being robbed of a hit Monday night.

Sweeney has a displaced bone in his pinkie and surgeons used a screw to mend the fracture. It is expected he will miss the rest of the season.

“I haven’t slept in two days. I couldn’t sleep. I just messed up,” Sweeney said. “I’ve talked to a lot of guys. Everybody’s thrown their helmet or thrown their bat or hit something. I guess I just didn’t know how to push the door. It’s just one of those things. The adrenaline got to me. Trust me, I regret it. That’s the biggest thing, not being there for your team and being able to be out on the field. It’s a tough thing to swallow.”

Sweeney’s teammates are sympathetic, but only to a point. Aaron Cook hung a pair of boxing gloves from his locker. “I don’t know what I’ll do with them,” Sweeney said. “I won’t be punching anything any time soon.”

Waiver time

The Red Sox put Carl Crawford and Nick Punto on trade waivers Wednesday, the kind of move that teams make at this time of the year. If claimed, a player can be pulled back. If the player clears, he can be traded . . . Kudos to Will Middlebrooks, who visited patients at Boston Children’s Hospital before the game . . . August is Jimmy Fund Month for the Sox. Adrian Gonzalez will donate $5,000 for every homer he hits in the second half, a total of $20,000 so far. The Red Sox also will support the annual Pan-Mass Challenge, a bike-a-thon that raises funds for cancer research and treatment at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Globe correspondent Alex Prewtt contributed to this report. Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.

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