Bobby Valentine said at his pregame session that he spoke to pitcher Josh Beckett about his golf outing with Clay Buchholz last Thursday and seemed satisfied that Beckett did not put himself in peril.
Beckett can control his own news cycle on this topic with a strong performance Thursday, or he can drag this out if the tight lat for which he missed his last start crops up again. It’s up to him.
“I’ve never seen a pitcher get hurt playing golf,” Valentine said.
“I talked to Josh and he’s ready to go,” the manager said.
Valentine didn’t seem to think Beckett had any real restrictions on him.
“We’ll see how it goes,” Valentine said.
Buchholz, Beckett’s golf partner, said “it’s no big deal,” and that Beckett would never put himself in a position to injure himself.
In other news:
* As we reported first, Daniel Nava is up and Clay Mortensen is down.
Valentine said he spoke to Mortensen at 3:45 a.m., when the team arrived in Boston from Kansas City and told him that “baseball, like life, isn’t fair” and that he was heading back to Pawtucket for a while.
Mortensen is one of the few pitchers who has options. The Sox would not want to risk losing some of their other bullpen pieces to waivers.
“I don’t know that Clay could have done any more than he did,” Valentine said.
Mortensen, acquired from Colorado in the Marco Scutaro deal, allowed one earned run in 9 1/3 innings (0.96) with 12 strikeouts and no walks. He had a WHIP of 0.643.
Nava hit.435 with runners in scoring position for Pawtucket and was to start in left field for the Red Sox Thursday night.
* Kevin Youkilis is feeling better and could soon begin baseball activities. Valentine said Youkilis would start playing catch either today or Friday.
* Carl Crawford indicated he’s at least two weeks away from throwing.
* Jacoby Ellsbury has picked up his activity.
* Valentine said the 12-18 start is “all my responsibility.” He was asked about the negative perception of the team and he indicated that he felt the team effort was “terrific” and that “we need to erase the negative feeling (from last season) and “we have done nothing in the first month to erase those feelings.”
*Valentine said Will Middlebrooks would not be considered for the outfield. Valentine said a couple of people in the Sox organization mentioned the possibility, but Valentine said, “It’s not an option at this time.”
* Johnny Damon, the Indians’ left fielder, spoke to the media before the game.
Asked whether he or Derek Lowe, tonight’s Indians’ starter would get a bigger ovation he said, “Probably Derek. I went over to the Yankees and then Tampa Bay and I know there are people who hold that against me. I think a lot of people understand how I play the game, but I understand what ever happens.”
Asked about his quest for 3,000 hits, “If it happens it happens. The way I’m swinging the bat now it’ll take me 10 years.”
Damon said the Red Sox never called him.
Damon said he understood teams being leery of his defense, but he felt that the more he plays, the better he’ll get after being a designated hitter most of last season with Tampa Bay.