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Red Sox Report: Beckett Injured, Bailey May Need Surgery

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

 

Another day, another thumb injury for a Red Sox pitcher. The latest to fall victim to an injured thumb is starter Josh Beckett.

Ironically, we learned of Beckett’s injury first from teammate Alfredo Aceves and not through the organization. Aceves told reporters Monday morning that he was told by manager Bobby Valentine to be prepared to start the team’s second game of the season in Detroit on Saturday and Boston’s home opener on April 13th because Beckett was off to San Antonio to have his injured right thumb examined.

The Red Sox later confirmed that Beckett was off to Texas to have the thumb looked at but Valentine assured the media that Beckett would be making his first start on Saturday and that he was getting it looked at for “peace of mind.”

“He threw 100 pitches yesterday and felt great, hit location,” Valentine said. “He’s had a little situation that getting taken care of today just for peace of mind.”

So why is Beckett going to Texas to have the thumb looked at as opposed to Boston? Does he not trust Red Sox physicians which have certainly left themselves open to question these past few years? Or is he just looking to take a little break for a day or two back in his native Texas before joining the team in Detroit?

If you ask me, neither scenario is a great one. The first would be another black eye for the Red Sox medical staff which has been routinely beaten up over the past few years due to misdiagnosis of injuries to players like Clay Buchholz and Jacoby Ellsbury. If it’s the latter, then this would be another example of the veteran pitcher thumbing his nose at authority like he did last year by drinking beer and eating fried chicken in the clubhouse.

Whatever the case may be, Valentine claims that Beckett will be making his start against the Tigers Saturday so the crisis appears to have been averted.

NOTES:

-As for Andrew Bailey’s injured right thumb, the preliminary news is not good.  Bailey returned to Boston Monday to have the thumb examined and published reports say that he may require surgery.  Bailey is headed to Cleveland Tuesday for a second opinion.  Even if he does not require surgery, Bailey will likely start the season on the disabled list. The Red Sox could open the season with as many as 9 players on the disabled list.

-One of the players that could start the season on the DL is outfielder Carl Crawford. Valentine expressed his disappointment that Crawford has a setback with his wrist injury which has prevented him from playing in any games this spring. As a result, Crawford will remain back in Fort Myers when the team breaks camp today and heads north to Washington and eventually Detroit. While no timetable has been set for Crawford’s return, most believe that it will be at least a month before he could be playing for Boston meaning the beginning of May at the earliest.

-Who will close for Bailey if he cannot be with the team to start the season? Valentine indicated that he would be comfortable sending Mark Melancon out there in the 9th inning with a lead, if need be. While he did not commit to Melancon being the closer when Bailey’s down, that appears to be the most logical choice. Alfredo Aceves would be another possibility as well but he appears to be option “A” as a starter if Beckett’s thumb prevents him from being ready to go.  But, if Bailey does require surgery, the most likely scenario may be Daniel Bard returning to the bullpen to serve as closer.

-Boston wrapped up Grapefruit League play in Florida Monday with a 4-2 win over the Washington Nationals. Aaron Cook pitched well for Boston. Here’s his final line: 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K’s. Cook will start the season in the Pawtucket Red Sox’ rotation but could very well find himself in Boston’s rotation before too long. If that were to happen, that would allow the Sox to send Daniel Bard back to the bullpen further strengthening that area. Cook has an opt-out clause in his contract that allows him to leave the Red Sox if he is not called up by May 1st.

-The Red Sox and Nationals will play one more exhibition game before they each open up the regular season. Tomorrow, the two teams will play at the Nationals home ballpark in Washington DC where it is expected to be 69-degrees and sunny. After that game, Boston will head to Detroit for Thursday’s season opener where it is expected to be chilly. The forecast for the Motor City calls for sunny skies Thursday and a high temperature of 51-degrees. After an off day Friday, the forecast calls for mostly sunny skies and a high of 60 on Saturday.

-Tomorrow we’ll take a look at the Red Sox 25-man roster and make our predictions for the 2012 season.

 

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