Valentine: Beckett a "professional"


Valentine: Beckett a "professional"

BOSTON The firestorm caused by Josh Becketts golf outing two days before he was skipped in a start because of a sore right lat muscle and a week before he was pummeled by the Indians Thursday night is still broiling.

Beckett took the loss last night, going just 2 13 innings and giving up seven runs, his shortest start since going 2 13 innings while giving up eight runs on Aug. 17, 2008, to the Blue Jays.

Before Fridays game manager Bobby Valentine said Becketts health was not an issue, and that Beckett may have been tipping pitches to the Indians.

I think mechanically, based on the information Ive got back, is that his mechanics are all right, Valentine said. But Josh seems to think that Cleveland is on him more than others and there might be something that hes doing that is signaling their effectiveness. Were investigating that. Healthwise he was fine. He said he felt great and today he was actively pursuing the answers to the problems.

Looking at video to see whywhen the cutter came in to the left-hander they always were out in front of it. Thats suspicious.

But with the backlash on Becketts choice of off-day activities still swirling, Valentine was asked if there was anything he could do about that.

I dont think that I am making a determination on what people are doing during their off days unless it affects the performance of them on the field and it seems that he was healthy when he played and it seems like it didn't hurt him, Valentine said. Would be very tough for a manager to start legislating what guys do when they're away from the park.

I think there are things that have been thought about since this has happened by everyone concernedin terms of right and wrong and what to do next time.

Perhaps it is the perception of the situation.. Choosing to play golf two days before a start will be skipped, the day after Valentine announced Beckett would be skipped certainly doesnt look good.

Again, that gets into the semantics thing, Valentine said. If you're injured, you can't do it. If there's an injury involved, you can't do anything away from the park that can do anything that might continue to cause more pain.

Valentine said the reason Beckett was skipped was to be cautious rather than because of a specific injury. Beckett threw 126 pitches, matching a career high in his previous start. After that start, he said his lat was bothering him before the outing.

I didn't think it was a physical thing as a reason he was skipped, Valentine said. I thought it was a cautionary thing. Right from the first day that I saw we were going to do it, I said it was 126 pitches and he had some lat stiffness. I was in the training room with him when they were digging into his lat and he said, Yeah its a little sore right in there, and I said, Im not taking a chance this time of the season.

Thats all that me personally is going on. I even heard the day that we skipped him, the day that Aaron Cook pitched, that he was feeling good enough to pitch that day.

Valentine considered bumping Beckett back, rather than skipping his turn, but that would have altered the rotation and other starters schedules.

I did but that would have caused everybody else to have to move up and we had a situation with Cook that was a coincidentally convenient thing, Valentine said. We had to make a decision whether to keep him or not to keep him and what we were going to do with him if we kept him and it just seemed like the stars were aligned to keep him and have him pitch in that spot.

Valentine said there had been some thought of using Beckett in the 17-inning loss to the Orioles on Sunday, but after quickly conferring with pitching coach Bob McClure during the game, that move was decided against.

At some point there was a thought but it didn't come to fruition, he said.

Cook had an opt-out date of May 1. It was announced on May 2 he would start in place of Beckett, with Beckett getting skipped.

We were all intrigued about Cook staying or leaving before we knew what he was at the major league level, Valentine said. We were all dealing, wrestling with that situation.

Valentine had been critical of Beckett in the past, as an analyst for ESPN. Since joining the Sox, he said he has found Beckett to be professional.

Josh has been a real professional to talk to, Valentine said. Hes seems like hes always on the same page in conversation. Hes with the guys, hes making jokes in the food room when I go by, hes shagging balls and seems to have fun. Seems to just be a regular to me.