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.