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As Red Sox stumble, injuries mount

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  September 6, 2011 12:09 PM

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TORONTO And to think, a few days ago the biggest debate about the Red Sox rotation was whether Erik Bedard or John Lackey should pitch Game 3 of the Division Series.

Now Josh Beckett is headed for an MRI tube today to figure out what his wrong with his right ankle and Bedard is being skipped because of a sore left knee.

Here's the updated list of healthy and available starters: Jon Lester, John Lackey, Andrew Miller, Tim Wakefield and Kyle Weiland.

Heard any good jokes about Bartolo Colon lately? Bet you haven't.

At this point, we don't know what's wrong with Beckett. The team said it was a sprained ankle but that was a general term because they couldn't up with a better euphemism. Beckett wasn't on crutches after the game and his ankle wasn't swollen. He didn't have a noticeable limp as he left the clubhouse.

But he felt something throwing that curveball in the fourth inning and couldn't continue. Maybe he just slipped and it's not a big deal. Or maybe it's a much more serious issue. At this point, we don't know.

As for Bedard, it's interesting that the Red Sox canceled a trade for Rich Harden for medical reasons but they did trade for a guy who wears a brace on his knee when he pitches and hasn't made through an entire season since 2006.

That Bedard is hurt again isn't a surprise. That's what he does, he gets hurt. Terry Francona suggested that if they really needed Bedard to make his next start, he could. Bedard didn't seem to agree. "I think we're making the right decision," he said.

A few people have written to ask whether Clay Buchholz can make it back as a starter this season. That would be asking a lot, probably more than he is capable of in the time remaining. Buchholz has not pitched since June and as of Sunday was making a few dozen medium-effort throws in the outfield. That's a long way from being ready to start a game.

As the Red Sox wait for news on Beckett, playing better should be a concern, too. They have dropped four of five and appear to have switched into cruise control too early. It's unlikely the Rays can make up seven games with 22 left to play. But it's not impossible.

Lester starts tonight. If he pitches well and at the same time there's good news on Beckett, Red Sox Nation can take a deep breath. But if the losing continues and Beckett has a big problem . . . hold on tight.

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