Beckett's ankle improving


Beckett's ankle improving

By Sean McAdam Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Josh Beckett, sidelined with an ankle sprain, couldn't say when he would return to the mound for the Red Sox, but said the ankle has shown a lot of improvement in the last day or so, leaving him optimistic.

Beckett long-tossed Saturday afternoon from a distance of about 120 feet.

"It was more just getting loose and come back in and throw some breaking balls and changeups,'' said Beckett, "and kind of see how it feels pushing off. Because that's been the big issue, with my body weight on it.''

Beckett said the ankle, which forced him from the game Monday, "feels a lot better today. Two days ago, it was pretty rough.''

He wouldn't put a timetable on his return to the rotation, saying: "It's not my decision. The trainer's got to be comfortable with where I am. (But) I don't see it being too much longer.''

"He's doing good,'' said manager Terry Francona. "He's got minimal soreness. We'll continue to re-evlaute. When he pitches, we don't know. But he's going OK.''

Asked if he could envision throwing a between-start bullpen mid-week and taking his next turn next weekend, Beckett said: "I think that sounds reasonable, but like I said, it's not my decision. It's going to be up to them. Obviously, they're going
to have my input and I'm ready to come back whenever it feels good.''

Beckett said he's been able to maintain his arm strength during his downtime by doing normal shoulder exercises and some light throwing.

"We just have to take it day-by-day,'' he cautioned. ''If I come in tomorrow and it's flared back up, this was all for naught.''

Some swelling some exists in the ankle, "which shuts down some of the muscles... The fluid takes up space and whenever you do certain movements, it pinches you.''

Beckett revealed that, when he came off the mound Monday, "it hurt bad,'' and he feared the injury was related to his Achilles tendon, since the discomfort was in the back of the ankle joint.

With the post-season less than three weeks away, Beckett doesn't see this compromising his readiness.

"I'm hoping this isn't a question mark,'' he said. "It needs to be 100 percent whenever I come back. I don't think we're going to (rush it); we're going to test it off the mound first and then figure stuff out.''

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Who's on first for Red Sox? It may be not someone you'd expect

Who's on first for Red Sox? It may be not someone you'd expect

Who’s on first? A middle infielder, maybe.

Hanley Ramirez, Josh Rutledge and Mitch Moreland aren't fully healthy. So the 25th man on the Red Sox has become a matter of corner-infield triage.

Rutledge was gearing up to play some first base with Ramirez restricted to DH because of his throwing shoulder. But Rutledge is hurt now too, likely headed to the disabled list with a left hamstring strain, Sox manager John Farrell said Wednesday morning in Florida.

Here’s the easiest way to think about who takes Rutledge's place: Who would the Red Sox like to see less against left handed pitching, third baseman Pablo Sandoval or first baseman Mitch Moreland? 

If it’s Sandoval, then you carry Marco Hernandez, who can play third base.

“He’s a very strong candidate,” manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida on Wednesday. “He’s one of a few that are being considered strongly right now.” 

If it’s Moreland, than you carry Steve Selsky, who has a history playing first base.

“He’s a guy we’re having discussions on,” Farrell said. “Any guy in our camp that we feel is going to make us a more complete or balanced roster, Deven Marrero, they’re all in consideration.”

The additional wrench here is that Moreland has the flu. If he's not available at all for a few days to begin the season, then the Sox probably have to carry Hernandez.

Why? Because Brock Holt can play some first base if Moreland is out. But then, you’d need another back-up middle infielder, and Hernandez gives you that. 

Hernandez is also hitting .379 in 58 at-bats this spring entering Wednesday.

Moreland isn’t the only one who has the flu.

"It’s running through our clubhouse," Sox manager John Farrell told reporters in Florida on Wednesday, including the Providence Journal’s Tim Britton. "Probably be held out for three days for a quarantine.” (LINK:

That means the Red Sox won't have Moreland for their exhibitions against the Nationals on Friday and Saturday in Washington D.C. and Annapolis, Md. Moreland could still be ready for the regular season, but would likely be at less than full strength.

Having Ramirez available would sure make things a lot simpler for the Sox.

Both Sandoval at third base and Moreland could use right-handed bats to complement them. Or more specifically, they could use people who can hit left-handed pitching to complement them.

Hernandez is a left-handed hitter who might actually be able to hit lefties. But the Sox haven't used him at first base, and there's no indication they will.

“As we look at the upcoming games, there is the potential for two left-handed starters in Detroit,” Farrell said. “So there’s a number of things being factored right now.”

Early in spring training, Farrell was asked what player had started to catch his eye.

The guy he mentioned was Selsky, an outfielder and first baseman the Red Sox feel fortunate to have picked up off waivers because he still has minor league options remaining.

Now Selsky, who has already technically been cut from major league spring training, has a chance at making the opening day roster. He's 27 and hit .356 in 45 Grapefruit League at-bats.

Chris Young isn't going to have an easy time finding at-bats as it stands now, but the Sox aren't considering moving him to first base.

Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win


Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win

The Boston Red Sox put up six runs in the first inning and coasted to a 9-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.

Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. led the way for the Red Sox with four and three RBI respectfully. Both outfielders had two-run home runs in the Sox’ big first inning.

Knuckleballer Steven Wright gave up one earned run in four innings, his ERA for the spring is now 0.68.

The Red Sox are back in action again on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m when Rick Porcello makes his final spring training start against the Minnesota Twins.