Beckett to pitch simulated game on Friday

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Beckett to pitch simulated game on Friday

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Four days after being struck in the head by a ball, Josh Beckett continues to make progress toward returning to the Red Sox' rotation.

Beckett will throw a three-inning simulated game Friday with an eye toward pitching Tuesday against Houston at City of Palms Park.

"He's going to have a pretty much normal day today,'' said Francona. "He feels real good. He's going to be re-evaluated and as long as everything goes OK, he will throw a three-inning simulated up-and-down session in the bullpen Friday and that will keep going toward his next start.

"He'll stay right on his progression, keep his arm strength. He's not facing hitters, but it's kind of the next best thing. It's under a controlled environment, which I think we're comfortable with.''

With Beckett cleared and on his way back to full health, the Red Sox had some fun with the fungo incident which led to his minor concussion.

First, as teammates stretched, Beckett was the last player onto the field at City of Palms Park, and came wearing a white T-shirt over his uniform -- the better,presumably -- for everyone to see him.

Later, the players outfitted staff member Ino Guerrero -- responsible for the mishap thanks to a wayward fungo -- in a neon-colored crossing guard vest and a bright yellow hat.

Bobby Jenks was set to make his Grapefruit League debut. Francona said Jenks and Daniel Bard will sometimes go back-and-forth between the seventh and eighth innings, with no one pitcher assigned to a specific inning.

"We'll go by matchups, availability, usage, who we're facing -- there's a lot of different things,'' said Francona. "How rested the bullpen, how far the starter goes, how far the starter went the day before. But there's no secret - if the game's on the line and he's rested, we want Bard to pitch. That's a weapon. But you can't do that every day.''

The Sox are still waiting on official word on Brent Dlugach, who suffered a dislocated left shoulder Tuesday when he fell, charging a pop bunt.

Dlugach underwent an MRI Wednesday, but the team had to send the test results back to Boston to be properly read.

Felix Doubront, who was shut down almost two weeks ago with soreness in his left elbow, is inching closer to being able to throw again. He's been going through the motions of his delivery in the bullpen.

Doubront is evaluated every day and will be seen by Dr. Tom Gill Friday.

Francona indicated that the Sox are still a week away from their first spring roster cuts. The Red Sox want to get through some split-squad days in the next week -- requiring extra bodies -- before sending anyone out. Also, because minor-league games don't start until the middle of the month, there isn't much point in returning players to the minor-league camp.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Among the reactions to the news that Bobby Valentine was possibly being considered to be the US amassador to Japan in President Donald Trump’s administration was this beauty from Kevin Youkilis. 

Valentine famously called out Youkilis early in his stormy tenure as Red Sox manager in 2012. Remember? "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Bobby V said of Youk at the time. 

The Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox for two not-future Hall of Famers, outfielder Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart, later that season.

Youkilis, now Tom Brady’s brother-in-law by the way, had a 21-game stint playing in Japan in 2014 before retiring from baseball. 

 

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer.  And…

US ambassador to Japan?

Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.

The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons. 

When asked by the New York Daily News if he's being considered for the post, Valentine responded: "I haven't been contacted by anyone on Trump's team." 

Would he be interested?

"I don't like to deal in hypotheticals," Valentine told the Daily News.

Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, sources told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. 

Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.