A few pre-game notes from Fenway Park:
• Josh Beckett had a hamstring cramp in the eighth inning on Wednesday, which kept him from going out for the ninth inning. “It seems like it’s non-problematic,” said Bobby Valentine, pointing out that Beckett was on the treadmill this afternoon.
Beckett did not make himself available to the media before the game.
• Cody Ross was set to take batting practice on the field before passing showers moved batting practice inside. He said his fractured left foot feels normal. Ross hasn’t been cleared to run yet, but he accidentally started jogging today chasing one of his kids and felt no discomfort.
• Some of you may recall that the Red Sox have a relief pitcher named Bobby Jenks. Theo Epstein gave him $12 million before the 2011 season. Jenks, who is recovering from back surgery, has been rehabbing in Arizona according to GM Ben Cherington and has yet to start any sort of throwing program.
At this point it would be a surprise if he plays for the Red Sox again.
• Adrian Gonzalez last drew a walk on May 15. He has gone 86 plate appearances since without walking. That Gonzalez is hitting .214/.230/.357 since May 15 is no coincidence.
• Valentine vigorously defended his frequent use of the sacrifice bunt. The Sox have 15, tied with the Angels for the most in the American League.
(That Valentine and Mike Scioscia came up through the Dodgers organization, which valued small-ball fundamentals at the time is probably no coincidence.)
“I don’t particularly like the bunt but I think it’s a very useful weapon at times,” Valentine said. “It keeps you out of double plays for sure. I don’t like to give away outs. I don’t think it’s a good idea. It’s great when you stay from two outs.”
Valentine pointed out that the Red Sox are second in the AL in runs scored with 290.
“Maybe there’s a correlation between bunting and scoring a lot of runs,” he said.
Valentine also mentioned he would like to see his power hitters bunt for base hits against defensive shifts.
“Not for just that one at-bat but for how it can spread the defense later and how they’ll pitch him later. In the season and in the game,” he said. “But again, you have to be comfortable doing it. But it sure looks easy at times, though.”
• With six consecutive interleague road games approaching next week, Valentine said he is “comfortable” in any ballpark with Gonzalez in right field.
• Ryan Kalish is 4 for 5 with 2 home runs, 4 RBIs, 4 walks and 1 strikeout in two games for Pawtucket. He is hitting .385/.529/.769 in eight games in the minors since starting his rehab assignment.
Position player can go only 20 days on a rehab. At that point the Sox would have to activate Kalish from the disabled list. They would then either add him to the major league roster or option him to the minors.