Josh Beckett’s medical tests came back OK from Mass. General, but Terry Francona decided that Beckett will miss Friday’s start vs. Detroit.
“Beckett went over and got examined this morning. I think we wanted to make sure that everything musculature was OK, which it is. That’s good. He’s got a spasm in his lower back. Just have to let it relax a little bit. In all likelihood he will not pitch on Friday. Because of Wake going tomorrow with a day off [Thursday], we can stay right in order. Everybody still gets an extra day,” Francona said.
So it will be Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester, and John Lackey in Detroit.
Asked whether Beckett might be plugged in before his next start comes up, Francona said, “I think it’s a possibility. We don’t know. He could show up tomorrow and feel great. But what we don’t want him to do is pitch with a sore back and exacerbate something.”
Today would have been Beckett’s second side session after his disastrous outing against the Yankees last weekend. Beckett also hurt his back while taking BP with the other pitchers Monday.
* Jacoby Ellsbury completed base-running drills this afternoon. This may be the next major step toward getting out on a rehab stint soon.
“As he ran he did a lot better as he progressed,” said Francona, who supervised the session with bench coach Demarlo Hale and trainers. “By the time he was going first to third he did really well.
“He’s not ready yet to go play. His words the past few days have been ‘significant improvement.’ Hopefully the next three or four days the same thing will continue.”
The Sox will try to determine whether Ellsbury will go with the team to Detroit, or whether he’ll be strong enough to begin a rehab assignment for the Pawtucket Red Sox. “I don’t know if he’s ready to do that, so we’ll continue to monitor it.”
* J.D. Drew, who missed yesterday’s game with a bout of vertigo, felt better today and was batting third. “The medication he takes for that knocks him off his feet, but once he gets it he gets over it and he’s ready to go. When he came in last night, I reached over for my lineup card and I said ‘OK, I’ll just make out two lineup cards, as he toppled over onto my couch I decided to go with lineup No. 2,” Francona said.
* Francona said Mike Cameron “had a solid night [in Pawtucket]. Checked in with me last night. Felt good. He’s going to play center field [Tuesday night]. Will not play tomorrow. And then we’ll have him play again on Thursday. If everything goes according to plan, I think he think he needs four or five games . . . I think that’s unrealistic but we’ll see how he feels. We don’t want to put arbitrary dates on him. We just want him to play when he’s ready to play. We just don’t want to set him back. When he comes back we want him to play with health.”
* On Darnell McDonald: “He’s done a pretty good job. You lose one center fielder and then potentially your next center fielder [Ellsbury]. Then you go get someone in Triple A. And if you’re expecting someone to play Gold Glove caliber, that’s probably not realistic. He’s thrown tremendous. The ball is down. He’s got a good arm. Good judgments. There’s been a couple of routes where he could have done better but he’s given us a big lift.”
* The Milwaukee Brewers and the Milwaukee Braves Historical Association today inducted Felix Mantilla and the late Eddie Mathews into the Braves Honor Roll, which is located in Miller Park. Both former players have a Boston tie.
Mantilla began his Major League career in Milwaukee and spent six seasons with the Milwaukee Braves (1956-61). While with the Braves, he played six positions and was a member of the 1957 World Championship team. The former infielder/outfielder also played for the Mets (1962), Red Sox (1963-65), and Astros (1966). He was voted as the starting second baseman on the 1965 American League All-Star team with the Red Sox.
Mathews, who was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1978, played 13 of his 17 seasons in the Major Leagues with the Milwaukee Braves from 1953-1965 and is the only player in Braves’ franchise history to play in the team’s three cities. He also played for the Boston Braves (1952), Atlanta Braves (1966), Houston Astros (1967) and Detroit Tigers (1967-68).
Mathews played in 10 All-Star Games with Milwaukee and led the National League in home runs on two occasions (47 in 1953 and 46 in 1959). He finished his playing career with a .271 batting average to go along with 512 HRs and 1,453 RBIs, primarily as a third baseman.