Beckett (thumb) expected to make first start

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Beckett (thumb) expected to make first start

FORT MYERS, Fla. Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine confirmed on Monday morning that Josh Beckett has a thumb injury and is being examined in San Antonio.

But Valentine added that he totally expects Beckett to make his start in the second game of the season, Saturday against the Tigers in Detroit.

Beckett threw 100 pitches yesterday in a bullpen session and felt great, hit location, Valentine said. Hes had a little situation that he was taking care of today -- so I guess you all know that -- just for peace of mind.

Becketts regularly scheduled day to start was Sunday. But rather than face the Twins for the second time this spring, he was slated for five innings in a minor league game on Sunday. That was eventually changed to a bullpen session in order to provide a more controlled environment, Valentine said Sunday morning.

Asked his level of confidence that Beckett would make his start Saturday, Valentine replied:

Real good today, after yesterday and he said he felt really good. I talked to the trainers and pitching coach Bob McClure . . . but it seemed like everything was fine.

Beckett has had a history of blisters on his pitching hand, but Valentine said that was not the issue.

No, just been a little situation, Valentine said. Think I might have mentioned it 10 days ago. It was a situation we were dealing with.

I feel really good right now. But as in all cases you have to be prepared. I think we are. I think were covered whatever happens. But the good news is, in his 100 pitches yesterday he felt good.

Alfredo Aceves said earlier Monday morning he has been told to be ready to start the second game of the season -- as well as the home opener -- if Beckett is unable to pitch.

Well, Id rather not talk about conversations I have with players, Valentine said. But suffice it to say you have to always be prepared.

Asked if Becketts thumb problem bothers the righthander more on one particular pitch than his others, Valentine replied:

Youd have to ask him. Its been a little hard to quite put our thumb on it.

Beckett is expected to rejoin the team in Detroit for Opening Day on Thursday, rather than for the exhibition game against the Nationals in Washington, D.C. tomorrow.

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Celtics-Sixers preview: Road has been kind to C's lately

Celtics-Sixers preview: Road has been kind to C's lately

BOSTON – For most teams in the NBA, road games are a necessary evil. 
 
Not for the Celtics. At least, not lately.
 
The Green Team hits the road for its next three games, and that has been a good thing – a real good thing – lately. 
 
Boston (11-8) has won its last four road games, the kind of success that breeds a heightened level of confidence heading into this current trip which begins tonight at Philadelphia. 
 
And it only helps that they hit the road coming off a 97-92 win over Sacramento on Friday. 
 
“We have to carry that momentum with us,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder. “You know how...anytime in this league, the momentum, you have to stay with it. We’ve been having success away from home. It was big for us to get this win (over the Kings) to start the road trip off.”
 
A big part of Friday’s victory was the play of Al Horford who finished with 26 points, eight rebounds, and six blocked shots. The points and rebounds for Horford were both season-highs.
 
Horford’s breakout performance came on the heels of a 121-114 loss to Detroit, a game in which Boston’s $113 million man (Horford) only took five shots.
 
“Coach [Brad Stevens] didn’t say anything about going to him just specifically,” said Boston’s Isaiah Thomas. “We just found him and made the right play and when he got it he was very aggressive.” 
 
Part of Horford’s success was that he was in more of an attacking mentality. But he also benefited from a Kings defense that didn’t double-team him nearly as much as the Pistons did. 
 
“I got a lot of early looks in the game and like I said [following the Pistons loss] I think the Pistons did a good job defending and doubling and forcing me to pass the ball. [Friday night] I had more opportunities to be aggressive.”
 
Facing a Sixers team that ranks among the NBA’s worst in several defensive categories, Horford and the rest of his Celtics teammates should have ample opportunities to make plays offensively. 
 
And in doing so, they will be able to add on to what has been an already impressive stretch of play this season away from home.
 
“I think it will be good,” Horford said. “[Tonight] it’s a Philly team that plays hard and we just want to keep building on [Friday night’s win over Sacramento] and just try to be better.”