Josh Beckett's efforts to return from the disabled list will be slowed down after the Sox were concerned with what they saw in a side session he threw yesterday. Terry Francona said Beckett, who went on the 15-day disabled list May 19 with a lower back strain, had trouble repeating his delivery consistently. The manager said they discussed the issue yesterday and then had a long chat with Beckett and pitching coach John Farrell today, where it was decided to pull back a little.
Francona was not able to say what slowing things down meant, but that Beckett's inability to repeat his delivery "worries us." Francona said Beckett was changing arm angles on his deliveries and that ultimately led to this decision.
"We don't want it to lead to anything else," Francona said. "We don't want it to turn into something it shouldn't. We'll see how he feels."
Francona inserted Mike Lowell into the lineup today and gave Kevin Youkilis, who is 1-for-10 against tonight's starter Zack Greinke, the night off.
"I'm just trying to give guys a blow," Francona said. "Mikey does a good job against Greinke ((4-for-7, .571), so it's a good night to take advantage of it. It's such a grind and we have a day game tomorrow."
Francona said that Victor Martinez, who still has a very sore left toe and can't run very well, was feeling better a day after catching and was back in the lineup today. Francona said he probably won't catch Martinez tomorrow and expects the receiver will have to play with some pain for a while.
With Tim Bogar attending his son's graduation, bench coach Demarlo Hale will coach third tonight and Rob Leary, who is a coaching assistant, will be on the bench with Francona.
The Royals have scratched starter Gil Meche for tomorrow's start and placed him on the DL with bursitis in his right shoulder. Former Sox lefty Bruce Chen will take his spot.
The current weather forecast (provided by the Red Sox private weather service, Telvent DTN) in the vicinity of Fenway Park calls for scattered showers in the area throughout the late afternoon and early evening hours.
The Fenway Park gates will open at the regularly scheduled time of 5:10 p.m., and the Red Sox are hopeful that tonight’s game against the Kansas City Royals, which is scheduled to start at 7:10 p.m., will begin on time. However, the Red Sox want to alert fans to the current forecast and to the possibility of delay.
This forecast is of course subject to change as the day progresses. Additional updates will be provided as necessary.