Right-hander Josh Beckett threw a side session this morning, and since then, he's been cleared to pitch in the All-Star Game in Phoenix on Tuesday.
The Red Sox have been keeping an eye on Beckett ever since he left Friday's game after five innings due to a mildly hyperextended left knee.
In other injured pitcher news, Clay Buchholz did not throw a side today, but he wasn't scheduled to. Buchholz is dealing with a lower back strain, and he's been on the disabled list retroactive to June 17.
Some notes from manager Terry Francona's pregame press conference:
** To make room on the roster for today's starting pitcher Kyle Weiland (who will make his big-league debut), the Sox have sent Scott Atchinson down to Pawtucket.
** Francona met with Weiland earlier, and he said likes when called-up players are a little nervous before their debuts.
"Guys who maybe try not to act [nervous], that's when you get a little worried," Francona said.
** Today's game is a little odd because it's the last one before the All-Star break, and after its conclusion, players will be leaving to go all over the country -- some will go home to hang out with their families, and others will be heading to Phoenix for the game. There's definitely a weird vibe around the ballpark.
"The first half doesn't wind down -- it comes to a crashing halt," Francona said. "We've got a game to play today, try to win it to the best of your ability. Then, guys will disperse in a hurry. Good for them.
"We want them to get away for a few days. We talk all the time, if the first game back, if ... the legs are a little slow, a little lethargic ... if that's the worst thing that happens, we're OK. They need to get away because it's a long second half."
** Francona was asked what he's been surprised about most during the first half of the season. He listed three things he's been pleased with:
- Matt Albers' performance out of the bullpen (3-3, 2.55 ERA, 35.1 IP)
- Jacoby Ellsbury's productivity as a leadoff batter (In the first inning alone, he's hitting .377 with five doubles and three home runs.)
- Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, and Adrian Gonzalez have all stayed healthy so far.
"We haven't clicked on all cylinders yet, which is kind of exciting to me," Francona said.
** Francona said he might not watch the All-Star game on Tuesday.
"I may turn the game on to see how our guys are doing, but that's about it," Francona said. "I need a break."