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Sox, Scutaro pretty tough team

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff  June 15, 2010 04:13 PM

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When you consider that since almost the start of the season Marco Scutaro has essentially played with one arm, that's a sign of a pretty tough guy.

A pinched nerve in Scutaro's neck has caused his left biceps to atrophy, it being noticeably smaller and less defined than his right biceps. On Monday's off day he had a nerve-root injection of cortisone in his neck to help alleviate the pain and pressure he's been experiencing as a result of the pinched nerve.

Scutaro, who also a slightly herniated disk, wanted to play Tuesday night even though he felt a little wobbly after the injection, but the Sox are holding him out. Scutaro said he was definitely playing Wednesday.

"You just have to deal with the pain and just go out there and play," Scutaro said. "Your team depends on you. You're never going to be 100 percent when you're playing baseball every day, but you can help do something to win a game."

Scutaro said he has to wait a couple of days before some of the symptoms subside. Scutaro also received a shot in his elbow less than a month ago to ease discomfort related to the nerve problem.

The Red Sox have a lot of tough guys from Dustin Pedroia, who has played through discomfort in his knee; Kevin Youklilis, who has had back issues and soreness from being hit with pitches so often; Adrian Beltre, who has played with knee and groin soreness and who had a sprained ankle in spring training; Victor Martinez, who hurt his toe so bad he could barely walk, had it drained and went right back out and played.

Not to mention Jason Varitek, who has played with every injury imaginable in hs career. Last year he had a neck strain, was in pain from arthritis in his knees, and had shoulder weakness and elbow pain from past injuries.

"That dude [Varitek] is the toughest guy in the league," said Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon. "Nobody tougher. I don't care what sport. The stuff he plays with is amazing. You have so much respect for a guy like that. When you see people like that, sacrificing themselves to play, that just gets the whole team going. It makes everybody want to go that extra mile if they're hurt.

"We seem to have that on this team, along with the mental toughness we have. You put the two together and it's a good situation in this clubhouse," Papelbon said.

Jeremy Hermida, who fractured five ribs and was placed on the 15-day disabled list, was around the batting cage Tuesday but not ready to hit. The Sox are thinking Hermida won't need more than the 15 days to recover.

Josh Beckett (lower back strain) is throwing at 120 feet, will get up to 150 feet before he does a bullpen session and eventually throws to hitters. After that he'll likely have a rehab start or two.

It looks more and more like Felix Doubront, who is scheduled to pitch Friday in Pawtucket, could be Boston's starter Friday to take Daisuke Matsuzaka's spot. The only other option would be Boof Bonser. Francona said he's not planning on going with a starter and not a bullpen collaborative. Doubront, who is 2-1 with a 1.08 ERA in four starts at Pawtucket, is 22 years old. The Sox have made these one-and-done starts with their pitching prospects in the past just to give them a taste of the majors and to give the young pitcher an idea of what it takes to pitch in the big leagues.

Don Orsillo has returned to the NESN booth after a bout with vertigo.

Former Sox general manager Josh Byrnes, now the Diamondbacks GM, is expected in Boston for this series.

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