BOSTON Josh Beckett, who left the game with two outs and the bases loaded in the third inning Tuesday night because of a back spasm, was not in the Red Sox clubhouse while it was opened to the media Wednesday afternoon.Manager Bobby Valentine, who also had not seen the right-hander several hours before game time, was unsure what Becketts status would be for his next start, which is scheduled for Sunday against the Twins at Fenway Park.I havent see Josh, but two of my coaches saw him, manager Bobby Valentine said. General manager Ben Cherington saw him. I was in the training room before he got in there, but he said hes a little stiff. Not surprisingly. He had spasms and hes a big guy. So we dont know how to read that other than it doesnt seem when Ben talked to him he said it doesnt seem like he was going to be a 15-day disabled list stint or anything. But well just play it by ear. Valentine was unsure if Beckett would need to miss a start.I dont know about that either, but the surety of that, I havent talked with Josh, Valentine said. Itll all be predicated on that bullpen session, which isnt until at least tomorrow, maybe the next day, where hell test it and that will predicate whether or not hell be able to make the start.Beckett walked off the mound Tuesday night to a chorus of boos.Fans pay their money to be part of our experience and if someones displeased with my walking out on the field or someone walking off of the field, theyre paying the right to be displeased and to express whatever they want to express, Valentine said. I think when a guy gets hurt and he comes off the field, Im not sure that thats the time to boo someone, personally. To each their own.
Hanley Ramirez is getting a night off as the Red Sox look for their third straight win against the Rays tonight at Tropicana Field.
Travis Shaw will play first base, with Brock Holt at third.
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Sandy Leon C
Brock Holt 3B
Travis Shaw 1B
Andrew Benintendi LF
Rick Porcello P
Logan Forsythe 2B
Kevin Kiermaier CF
Evan Longoria 3B
Brad Miller SH
Matt Duffy SS
Logan Morrison 1B
Steven Souza Jr. RF
Corey Dickerson LF
Bobby Wilson C
Matt Andriese P
Fred Toucher rips into Curt Schilling's stated ambition to run for the Senate: '[He's] incredibly stupid but (thinks he's) brilliant.'
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- This is the kind of season it has been for Clay Buchholz:
A little more than a month ago, he was merely taking up space on the Red Sox roster, having been summarily removed from the rotation after three months of poor outings.
He was in the bullpen, but the Sox were loathe to use him. Asked, memorably, why Buchholz hadn't been the choice to serve as a long reliever in a game in which the starter departed early, John Farrell candidly noted, in not so many words, that because the Sox still had a chance to win the game, Buchholz didn't make sense as an option.
But slowly, Buchholz became more effective in his new relief role. And when injuries struck the rotation, Buchholz got himself three cameo starts, during which he posted a 2.70 ERA in 16 2/3 innings, topped by Tuesday's beauty -- 6 1/3 innings, one run allowed, nine strikeouts recorded.
Just as Buchholz has straightened out, however, Red Sox starters are suddenly stacked up like jets waiting for clearance to land at Logan Airport. Steven Wright returns from a brief DL stint Friday, and Eduardo Rodriguez is not far behind.
When he pitched poorly, the Red Sox didn't have any other options.
When he pitched well, the Red Sox have plenty of other choices.
So, now what?
"As far as Clay goes,'' said John Farrell, "this will be, I'm sure, a conversation (had) within (the organization). But setting that aside, he's throwing the ball exceptionally well right now.''
But the question remains: In what capacity will he throw the ball in the near future?
There's been a suggestion to keep Buchholz in the rotation while moving Drew Pomeranz to the bullpen. That would give the Sox a dependable lefty in relief -- as opposed to, say, Fernando Abad -- while also serving the dual purpose of putting a governor on Pomeranz's climbing innings total.
Pomeranz, who has plenty of bullpen experience in the big leagues, has also thrown 140 1/3 innings this season, eclipsing his previous major league high by nearly 40.
But Pomeranz is 27, not 21. He's shown no signs of fatigue. To the contrary, he's 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in his last four starts. The Sox shouldn't mess with his success.
Instead, Buchholz should become one of the team's high-leverage set-up weapons, available in the seventh or eighth inning.
True, Buchholz doesn't have the swing-and-miss capability you'd prefer to have in the eighth inning, where the fewer balls put in play, the better off you are. But he can get lefties and righties out, and, pitching out of the stretch full-time, he's greatly improved his command.
Buchholz would remain the best option for a spot start if one of the five Red Sox starters faltered or got hurt. But the bullpen remains the best choice for him.
Ironic, isn't it? When he pitched poorly, he remained in the rotation for several months. Now that he's pitching superbly, he can't earn a permanent spot.
It's been that kind of season.