Josh Beckett's Birthday Gift Guide


Josh Beckett's Birthday Gift Guide

As you've probably heard by now, today's Josh Beckett's birthday!

And I know what you're thinking: What do I get for the guy who deserves nothing?

Well, don't worry. I have you covered. Thanks to some sharp eBay research, I've found five presents that will make Beckett's 32nd birthday a memorable one.

1. Beckett loves hunting. And as all great hunters know, there's NOTHING worse than when you're tracking a sweet piece a meat and just before you're ready to blow some brains out, the sun reflects off your beer can and scares the away pray. We've all been there, right?

Right. Well, for only 9.45, you can solve all Beckett's beer-related hunting mishaps with this: The Redneck Camo Beer Belt

According to the seller, the Redneck Camo Beer Belt holds six of your favorite beers and will fit comfortably around even the biggest beer belly.

And the best part? It's not only for hunting. You can wear the Redneck Camo Belt anywhere: The grocery store, the mound, your child's christening. And no one will notice, because it's camouflage!

2. Even though his reputation's taken a hit in recent years, I'm sure Beckett still signs his share of autographs. And being the massive money maker that he is, I'm sure Beckett's often in a position whether he's agreeing to a sponsorship deal, signing the deed on a new ranch or paying his tab at Krispy Kreme where he needs to provide a signature.

And what better way to spice up his Herbie Hancock than with a novelty rubber stamp? So, for only 99 cents, I recommend this: A "Body by Ben & Jerry" rubber stamp

It's funny because it's true.

3. As we all know, Beckett's priorities are in perfect order: Above all else, he's a father first. And not just when it's convenient. It doesn't matter if it comes at the expense of his reputation, his job or his pride. He can only play 27 holes on his day off instead of 36? No problem. It's an easy sacrifice, because that's just the way it is.

You have a child, and nothing else matters. The rest of your responsibilities go out the window. The world stops. It's all about you! So, for only 129.99, nothing says "Happy Birthday, Josh" quite like this: An autographed copy of Fatherhood by Bill Cosby.

NOTE: On the off, off chance that Beckett's not a Cosby fan, you might want to throw this one in the cart for an extra 6.

4. If there's one thing Beckett loves more than fatherhood, it's Josh Beckett. Which, for only 3,499.99, makes this the PERFECT present: A 2011 Game Worn Red Alternate Josh Beckett Jersey!

The jersey comes complete with a drool stain (courtesy of his trademark seventh inning snooze), a dime-sized hole (he was smoking a cigar at the time he fell asleep) and still sports the faint aroma of a John Lackey fart (which was delivered as a joke while Beckett was zonked out)!

Josh will be so grateful that you tracked it down.

5. A win.

It doesn't cost a thing, but it's the only way we'll ever move on.

And there's no better way to celebrate a birthday.

Followed by chugging down a cold one from this sweet new beer tap.

Only 19.95.

Here's to you, Josh!

Rich can be reached at Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Farrell: 'Strike-throwing is a priority' for Owens in Triple A


Farrell: 'Strike-throwing is a priority' for Owens in Triple A

NEW YORK -- Following a six-walk effort Thursday in Chicago, Henry Owens found himself optioned back to Pawtucket Friday, removed from the Red Sox rotation after three sub-par starts.

Owens lasted just three-plus innings Thursday, and allowed two runs. In three starts since being promoted to replace Joe Kelly in the Red Sox rotation, Owens walked 13 in 12 1/3 innings while allowing 13 hits for a ghastly 2.108 WHIP and a 5.11 ERA.

"Henry needs to go back and learn to command his fastball with more consistency,'' said John Farrell. "He's got an outstanding changeup that can get him back in some counts and get him away from some damage. But the strike-throwing is a priority here.''

In addition to wildness, Owens saw his velocity dip, with his fastball topping out at 90 mph most times.

But Farrell insisted there isn't a physical issue with the lefty.

"One thing that we can for sure rule out is health,'' said Farrell. "There's no health issues at play here. I think when a pitcher's delivery is not in sync, he's not getting the most power out of it (in terms of velocity). And then, with the strike throwing, it becomes a confidence factor. I don't want to say he was tentative or it was a lack of aggressiveness, but I think when you're feeling for pitches to try to get them in the strike zone, there might be a tentativeness that takes over.''

Owens has a quality changeup that can throw off hitters' timing and get weak contact, as happened Thursday night. But that pitch is only effective when he can set it up more with his fastball.

"That creates a little more margin for error,'' said Farrell of the changeup as a weapon, "but you've got to be in the strike zone first.''

Owens seemed to regress some from last year, when he was 4-4 in 11 starts with a 4.57 ERA. He pitched into the eighth inning in three straight starts in September.

"It's the second time he's been in the big leagues with us,'' said Farrell. "When the opportunity presents, you take it and run with it. I felt last year, he pitched effectively. He pitched very good at times. There were a couple of starts where he didn't have his best stuff, but he found his way into the sixth or into the seventh inning. That was (what we were hoping for) last year. OK, he's battling but he's finding a way to get through it.

"As far as his opportunity, I'm sure he'll back to us at some point.''

Asked if the Red Sox had expected more from Owens, Farrell didn't mince words.

"Based on what he showed at this level last year, yes,'' said Farrell.

Owens was replaced on the roster by Sean O'Sullivan, who was with the club here Friday afternoon and in the bullpen, at least temporarily.

He could take Owens's spot in the rotation Tuesday.

"He's a candidates, yes,'' said Farrell.

O'Sullivan is with his fifth different organization, having pitched with the Angels, Royals, Padres and Phillies.

He signed with the Red Sox last winter as a free agent, in part attracted by the presence of pitching coordinator Brian Bannister, a one-time teammate of O'Sullivan with the Royals. Bannister has taken an innovative, analytical approach to pitching and has already helped O'Sullivan.

"When he was in (spring training) camp,'' said Farrell, "he showed more arm strength than anticipated. The strike-throwing has been above-average for him. A veteran guy who's pitched at this level for extended outings. We felt like that dependability and durability were also a factor in getting him here.''

Farrell credited an improved cutter and "more consistent location down in the strike one,'' accounting for O'Sullivan's improved results at Triple A.

O'Sullivan wasn't on the 40-man roster until Friday, when he was added. The Sox shifted third baseman Pablo Sandoval to the 60-day DL to make room.


Tonight's lineups: Red Sox vs. Yankees


Tonight's lineups: Red Sox vs. Yankees

Rick Porcello attempts to increase his record to 6-0 as he starts tonight for the Red Sox against the Yankees in the opener of their three-game series in New York.

Tonight's lineups:

Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DB
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Travis Shaw 3B
Brock Holt LF
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Christian Vazquez C
Rick Porcello P

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Carlos Beltran DH
Starlin Castro 2B
Aaron Hicks RF
Didi Gregorius SS
Ronnie Torreyes 3B
Michael Pineda P


McAdam: It's early, but there's good signs with the Red Sox


McAdam: It's early, but there's good signs with the Red Sox

Sean McAdam talks with Toucher & Rich about the good start the Red Sox have gotten off to this season, playing well on the road and for the most part taking care of business.