Josh Beckett has been pulled from tonight's start because of a stiff neck. Beckett had been fighting the same illness that has taken Jason Varitek out of the lineup for the past couple of days.
So the Red Sox, anticipating that there might be a problem, had pulled David Pauley from his start on Monday. He was told to come to Boston last night, where he spent the evening in a hotel. At about 2 p.m. Pauley was told that he wouldn't be needed tonight, then that was reversed around 4 p.m., when Pauley was told that he would be making the emergency start.
The neck issue popped up out of nowhere this afternoon. Manager Terry Francona was actually out watching Mike Lowell take batting practice for the first time since since injuring his thumb when the situation with Beckett came up.
The team is not yet sure if Beckett will be skipped in his start or whether he might just be pushed back a few days. We're hoping to get more information later, possibly after tonight's game.
To make room for Pauley on the roster, Joe Thurston was designated for assignment.
The other problem the Red Sox have right now is that they are short a second catcher. Varitek is still under the weather and, though he did come to the ballpark this afternoon, he was supposed to be heading home before gametime. Had Beckett not come down with the stiff neck, the roster move would have been made for a catcher, which still might happen tomorrow (with the Sox sending Pauley back down to Triple A). So with the two players who have offered to be the emergency catcher both on the disabled list (Alex Cora and Lowell), Francona was in a bind.
Guess who offered?
That's right. Dustin Pedroia.
So, in a pinch, the second baseman will be heading behind the plate.