Josh Beckett's bad back has landed him on the 15-day disabled list. Righthanded reliever Joe Nelson was called up from Triple A Pawtucket.
Tim Wakefield will take Beckett's place in the rotation and start against the Phillies Sunday.
Beckett missed a start earlier this month with a sore back and Tuesday night left his start against the Yankees in the fifth inning because of back issues. Beckett said after the game he didn't expect to miss a start but the Red Sox decided today to be cautious and place Beckett on the disabled list.
"We thought about bumping him back, maybe having him miss a start. Then we started thinking 'OK, if we do that, if we put him on the disabled list, he can basically miss the one start and we can line it up where he comes off the day he's eligible,' " manager Terry Francona said.
"I think we all, as we talked through it, realized that that was probably the, certainly the safest thing to do. ... He's OK. The last thing we want to have happen is have him pitch with a back and turn the back into something else where it feels like he's not using his legs or something and he hurts his shoulder. So we really want to make sure he's OK."
Wakefield is scheduled to make two starts. Then Beckett, if he is ready, would be activated to start against Oakland June 3.
The 35-year-old Nelson had a 2.49 ERA on 16 appearances for Pawtucket. He allowed 18 hits and 14 walks over 21 2/3 innings and struck out 21. Lefties were hitting .143 against him.
Nelson was the last cut of spring training.