Valentine: Doubtful Beckett will make next start

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Valentine: Doubtful Beckett will make next start

BOSTON -- The Red Sox haven't completely ruled out Josh Beckett making his next scheduled start, but it's looking doubtful.

Beckett left Tuesday's game in the third inning, complaining of back spasms. The initial plan was to have him throw a bullpen Thursday or Friday, but that is now on hold.

"He's not throwing Thursday,'' said manager Bobby Valentine, "and I'd say it's questionable for him to throw Friday, which would then make it questionable that he would pitch in his next start, which means that he won't make it -- more than likely -- if he doesn't throw Thursday or Friday.''

Valentine added that Beckett felt "much improved Thursday. He had a great night's sleep, but he's still a little limited in his motion.''

Valentine declined to say whom the Sox would choose to start in his place, though there has been plenty of speculation that lefty Franklin Morales would step in and take Beckett's spot.

Morales was to be available to contribute out of the bullpen Thursday night, though that would hardly him make him ineligible to pitch Sunday.

A source indicated that the Sox hope to avoid placing Beckett on the disabled list, indicating that they don't belive the back spasms are a long-term concern.

Even if Beckett can't go Sunday, it's conceivable he could start against the Texas Rangers, who come to town Monday for a three-game series before the Sox leave on a 10-game road trip to Cleveland, Baltimore and New York.

Ortiz to play rest of regular season for Sox with guaranteed rest before playoffs

Ortiz to play rest of regular season for Sox with guaranteed rest before playoffs

NEW YORK -- Now that the division title has been wrapped up, the Red Sox turn their attention to getting ready for the post-season -- but not at the expense of trying to win as many games as possible.

Part of the planning for the Sox involves how much to play David Ortiz, who is retiring when the Red Sox are through in the post-season.

On Thursday night, his final road game and last appearance at Yankee Stadium, the Sox planned to have Ortiz get at least two at-bats in recognition of the fans in New York who wanted to see him one more time.

As for the last series at Fenway, it will be business as usual with Ortiz playing all three.

"We don't foresee any pullback in terms of his number of at-bats," said Farrell of the weekend series with Toronto. "It's a weekend of celebration well-deserved and we'll have time to recover."

Farrell noted that under the current playoff format, teams which win their division get three full days off after the final regular season games. That helps in preparation.

"The importance of winning and maintaining our daily approach is priority No. 1," said Farrell. "How that might affect how deep a starter goes in the upcoming games might be looked at a little more closely. Still, we feel it's imperative to secure as much home field as we can."

On Thursday night, Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez and Sandy Leon were all given the night off. Others will get the same opportunity over the weekend.