Good news on Red Sox's injury front
Beckett to start Saturday; Lowell, Green on verge of return
BOSTON -- As they continue to get their house in order leading into the postseason, the Red Sox had a plethora of positive developments on the injury front before Tuesday's game against the Blue Jays.
Ace Josh Beckett, a day after missing his start against the Jays because of mild muscle spasms in his upper back, declared himself good to go for his final tune-up start before the postseason on Saturday night against the Indians.
"Absolutely, I think I'll make my next start," said Beckett. "I think if I had to, I don't think we're going to need this, but I could go sooner than Saturday. I think right now, we're just kind of looking at Saturday to hopefully set things up."
And Beckett made it clear that this ailment was nothing like the oblique injury that developed late last season that limited the right-hander throughout the postseason.
"It was so much different," said Beckett. "It was just something that you wake up with. It wasn't like I felt anything when I was throwing. You wake up and you're locked up. Three different [uncomfortable] beds on the road and one getting in at five in the morning, I just don't think that stuff really sat well with my back. It's unfortunate that you wake up on the day you start and don't really feel well enough to be able to do that. I think we made the right decision, and I feel a lot better today."
In an interview with WBZ TV, Beckett said he received three cortisone shots in his upper back on Monday.
Lefty setup man Hideki Okajima, who was unavailable for the past four games with discomfort in his right side, was good to go for Tuesday's game.
Third baseman Mike Lowell, who had a shot of Synvisc and cortisone injected into his surgically repaired right hip on Monday, will be back in the Boston lineup on Thursday night vs. Cleveland. The shot was nothing more than maintenance, and wasn't a sign of Lowell experiencing any recent setbacks.
"He'll take [batting practice] outside tomorrow and play Thursday," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "I think he feels pretty good. He's in there lifting right now. There was some thought to him playing tomorrow. I don't think that's a good idea. I think we'll wait another day."
As for backup shortstop Nick Green, who hasn't played since Sept. 16 because of a disc problem, there is also progress there. Green hopes to play by Friday and prove to the Red Sox that he is healthy enough to be on the postseason roster.
"I hit off the tee, did some sprints, threw way better than I threw when I was trying before," said Green. "I've done a lot of things that I haven't been able to do in the past week."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.