TORONTO — Josh Beckett will return to Boston tomorrow to have his right ankle checked out by Dr. George Theodore, a foot specialist.
“I’ve never had it happen before,” he said. “It’s something in my ankle, I’m not sure what,” Beckett said. “It’s always concerning. That’s my power leg. With the way I pitch, I don’t think I can cut my leg off. It’s definitely stiff.”
Until he came out, Beckett was working on a shutout and had struck out six. He didn’t feel anything until the fourth inning.
Beckett threw a 1-and-1 curveball to Brett Lawrie and landed awkwardly, appearing to have caught his spikes in the rubber. He stayed in the game, trying a pickoff throw to first base before throwing a 94-mph fastball just off the outside corner.
Beckett then walked to the back of the mound as catcher Jason Varitek came out from behind the plate and motioned to the dugout. Francona and head athletic trainer Mike Reinold came out to attend to the pitcher.
“I felt it on the second-to-last pitch. It felt a little bit different on the last pitch I threw. It was bothering me,” Beckett said. “It felt like it was locked up and then like it popped in and out of socket or something.”
The Red Sox seemed concerned after the game, general manager Theo Epstein leaving Terry Francona’s office with a grim expression.
“We really don’t know. It was getting stiff and it was getting sore, so we got him out of there,” Francona said “Now we’ll see what’s going on in there.”
Beckett said he fell in the bullpen before the game when he slipped on some concrete while changing his shirt. But he didn’t believe that had any effect on his ankle
There were some positive signs. Beckett was not on crutches and did not have his ankle wrapped when he pulled on his monogrammed cowboy boots.
“I could wake up tomorrow and feel like playing basketball,” he said. “We’ll just see.”
Beckett is 12-5 with a 2.49 earned run average and has dominated the Yankees in four of his five starts against them. His loss would be crushing to a team with a thin rotation.
“Obviously, he’s been our best guy from Day 1,” reliever Daniel Bard said “It doesn’t sound as bad as they first thought, so I really don’t know what’s wrong with him. No one seems to be panicking, but obviously we need him down the stretch.”
Beckett said his ankle felt “stiff” after the game.
The Red Sox have 22 games before starting the postseason.
“It’s pretty bad timing,” Beckett said. “But I could be back out there in six days. We’ll see. Let’s not put the cart in front of the horse. Let’s do our due diligence.”