Josh Beckett said Tuesday his back felt better than it did on Monday, but comments manager Terry Francona made to ESPN.com yesterday seem to cast more doubt on Beckett’s availability for Opening Day in Tokyo.
Beckett told the Globe’s Amalie Benjamin this morning that he felt “Better today than I was yesterday. I got a good night's sleep." Benjamin also noted that the pitcher seemed to be in better spirits.
The righthander had an MRI on his back yesterday that showed no disc damage. But his muscle discomfort has cast some doubt as to whether he will be ready to pitch in the opener on March 25.
When asked by ESPN.com's Jayson Stark whether Beckett's back can possibly heal in time for him to pitch in two weeks, Francona replied, “I don't think we know [for sure] yet. But we're certainly not going to rush him back to pitch a game March 24 if he's not ready."
Beckett had a day of good treatment today, Francona told Stark. Still, the manager was cautious.
“The idea is just to give Beckett the respect to get better when he gets better," Francona told ESPN.