05/21/10 12:50 AM ET
Scutaro should be OK; Schoeneweis released
By Maureen Mullen / Special to MLB.com
"I think he's doing OK," Francona said. "He was a little tender [Wednesday] night, which I think happens. I think it's kind of the way it's supposed to work. That's part of the reason we got Angel [Sanchez] here. If we're going to do that, we want it to work. I would hope, and I think [Scutaro's] under the assumption he'll be ready to go tomorrow, he'll be feeling good about being ready to go. That's the idea. If he's not, we'll give it another day. But I don't think that'll happen."
Francona did not expect Scutaro's ailing elbow to be a chronic concern.
"I think that's why we did this," Francona said. "We're not concerned that it'll be a prolonged thing, but we kind of want to nip it in the bud. We think he's going to be fine."
Sanchez was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket and started at shortstop for Thursday's game against the Twins at Fenway. In 36 games for the PawSox, he was hitting .313 (41-for-131), playing 23 games at short, four at second base and one at third.
"He's a guy that can move around the infield," Francona said. "He's one of those guys that accumulates a ton of at-bats in Spring Training because of his versatility. He had a good year in [Las] Vegas, [Toronto's Triple-A affiliate], last year. He was playing very well in Triple-A, and he's playing tonight."
Sanchez -- who has played eight games in the big leagues with Kansas City in 2006, batting .222 with an RBI -- found out about the promotion after Pawtucket's game Wednesday. It caught him by surprise, but he was excited to make his Red Sox debut.
"Just really happy," Sanchez said. "I don't know what. There's no explanation to explain how happy I was when they told me.
"I don't think [I'll be nervous]. I just go out there and have fun and play hard. It will be all right, hopefully."
Because space had to be cleared on the roster for Sanchez, left-handed pitcher Scott Schoeneweis was released. Thursday is the first anniversary of his wife's death from an accidental overdose.
"Yes," Francona replied, when asked if he was aware of the anniversary. "What do you want me to do? I wrote him a note. As much as we try to be aware of personal things, I don't know how you make a baseball decision. You can't ask Scutaro to have a shot two days later. That's not going to work."
Beckett expects to be back after DL stint
BOSTON -- After tweaking his back taking batting practice in preparation for Interleague Play, Josh Beckett skipped a start, hoping that would calm his injury.
While the plan seemed to have worked, slipping on the Yankee Stadium mound while delivering a pitch in the fifth inning on Tuesday on a cold, rainy night wreaked havoc with the plan. Now, Beckett is on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain -- and frustration.
Before Thursday's game against the Twins at Fenway, Beckett said he was feeling OK.
"I don't really know what else to say," Beckett said. "It's frustrating. We played that game the other night in less-than-[ideal] conditions for everybody. We're probably lucky it isn't worse than it is. It's just frustrating that you have to go out there in those conditions, especially when you've got something like a back injury and then basically on one pitch it costs you two starts.
"My land [left] leg just never grabbed. But their guys had to deal with it, too. I'm not complaining about the [conditions]. ... But whenever you're dealing with a back injury and something like that is costing you two more starts, it's kind of frustrating."
Beckett has been getting treatment for his ailing back.
"It's uncomfortable, and whenever I get into torquing motions and stuff like that it's a little more uncomfortable than just standing there," he said. "It's kind of like having a crick in the neck. It can be miserable."
Beckett, who has posted a record of 1-1 with a 7.29 ERA in eight starts this season, is eligible to come off the DL on June 3, when the Red Sox host the A's. He is confident the 15 days will be all he'll need.
"I think 15 days would put me in position to where I could make that start," Beckett said, "and I think if I don't have that slip-up in the fifth inning, we'd be standing here talking about something totally different.
"Sometimes, it gets frustrating. The whole thing could have been dealt with differently. Ten days wasn't enough last time, so we're going to give it 15 days this time."
Despite the previous injury, Beckett said he felt fine before the game against the Yankees.
"I'm good on the days where I pitch convincing myself that nothing's wrong, and literally, I told [pitching coach] John Farrell about it that night that I didn't think about it one time," Beckett said. "My back was fine. It wasn't bothering me. It wasn't tightening up or fatigued or anything. It was just one pitch.
"Everything right now is just day-to-day. I think I'm better today than I was yesterday. I think that's everybody's goal."
Beckett spent two stints on the DL in 2008 with a back injury. He finished '08 with a record of 12-10 and a 4.03 ERA after leading the Majors with 20 wins the previous year, as he dealt with the lingering back ailments.
"I can't start worrying about that right now," he said. "It's still a little early for me to be thinking about further down the road than just basically today, trying to get through today and get better, come in tomorrow, go to Philadelphia tomorrow and feel better than I did today."
Tim Wakefield will take Beckett's start in the rotation, starting on Sunday in Philadelphia. Wakefield, who prefers the rotation to the bullpen, has said he doesn't want a spot in the rotation at the expense of another pitcher. Beckett can empathize with the knuckleballer.
"Yeah, he's definitely paid his dues," Beckett said. "He deserves that opportunity. Obviously, I'd like to be out there and [work] my end, but he's like everybody. Nobody wants to make a start because somebody is injured. But for him, he deserves to be out there anyway."
Ellsbury expected to return on Saturday
BOSTON -- Outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron both played for Double-A Portland on Thursday afternoon as they make their way back from injuries, and Ellsbury most likely will return to the Red Sox on Saturday, Boston manager Terry Francona said.
Ellsbury played left field and led off, going 3-for-4 with a double, a run scored and a stolen base, as the SeaDogs lost at home to Minnesota's affiliate, New Britain, 6-2.
The Red Sox are scheduled to play the middle game of their three-game Interleague series at Philadelphia on Saturday.
"Ellsbury had a real good day," Francona said shortly after the end the end of Portland's game. "[He went] 3-for-4. He stole a base, slid a couple times, dove back into first a couple times. A lot of good things happened, and I think he felt good about himself."
General manager Theo Epstein was in attendance. For Ellsbury, who has been out since April 11 with hairline fractures in four ribs on his left side, it was his third rehab game, second with Portland. For Cameron, who has been on the disabled list since April 19 with a lower abdominal strain, it was his sixth rehab game, first with Portland after five with Triple-A Pawtucket.
Playing center field, Cameron hit second and went 1-for-4 with a run scored, an RBI and a strikeout.
"Just talked to Cam," Francona said. "I think he was 1-for-4, played the whole game, did pretty well. He'll [go] back [on Friday to Portland], play center field again. Maybe not the whole game tomorrow, we'll see. And then we'll kind of go forward from there -- whether he should sit the next day."
Big Papi takes a seat vs. Liriano
BOSTON -- Despite raising his average from .149 to .248 over the previous 11 games, batting .358 with seven home runs and 17 RBIs in May and slugging his eighth homer of the season on Wednesday night, David Ortiz found himself on the bench at the start of Thursday's game against the Twins at Fenway Park, with Mike Lowell serving as the designated hitter.
Blame that mostly on Minnesota left-hander Francisco Liriano. Ortiz has had limited opportunities against Liriano. Ortiz was not in the lineup when the Sox faced the left-hander on April 15 in Minnesota and is 1-for-3 with two RBIs and a strikeout against Liriano in his career.
Liriano has allowed a .222 average to left-handed hitters in his five-year career (.254 to righties). This season, he is holding lefties to a .154 average; righties are batting .277.
"Well, I think it's a little bit of everything," said Sox manager Terry Francona of his DH decision. "I guess, when I answer questions there's differences. With [Yankees ace] CC [Sabathia] the other night, he's actually tougher on righties. The lefties take away his changeup. I think David is swinging the bat about as well as he can, which is great. This was one of those guys that, this is to me, a normal, take your blow, be ready to pinch-hit off the righty [later in the game].
"And like I said, not get in the way of guys getting hot and also help them. This is a guy [Liriano] that's really tough on lefties. This to me is a perfect night to send some righties up there and see if we can do some damage."
Francona likes what he has been seeing from Ortiz in recent games.
"A little bit of everything," Francona said. "He's got balance. He's got confidence, driving the ball out of the ballpark both left-center, center, right. He's been good. Unfortunately, two games into the season, we had to answer a lot of questions, which actually gets old. ... But now I think he is getting hot. That's great news for us. It's very welcome. We need that production, and it's going to help us win games."
Kevin Youkilis has reached base safely in each of his past 20 games since April 28, hitting safely in 17. It is his fourth-longest on-base stretch of his career. The most recent longer stretch was 21 games from Sept. 23, 2009 to April 17, 2010. He set a season high on Thursday with four RBIs. ... Victor Martinez tied a career high with three doubles, the third time he has done so and the first since July 20, 2007, while with the Indians against the Rangers. He has hit safely in 17 of his 23 games at Fenway Park this season, batting .315 (28-for-89). ... Darnell McDonald hit leadoff for the first time this season and the second time in his career. He also led off for the Reds on Sept. 17, 2009, against the Marlins, going 2-for-3 with a run scored, an RBI and a walk. ... Angel Sanchez, called up from Triple-A Pawtucket earlier on Thursday, made his first appearance in a Major League game since Oct. 1, 2006, with the Royals against the Tigers.
Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.