07/18/10 8:04 PM ET
Fenway hosts 600th consecutive sellout
By Quinn Roberts / MLB.com
The streak began on May 15, 2003, and has since surpassed the previous MLB record of 455, set by the Indians between 1995-2001.
"On behalf of John Henry, Tom Werner, and our entire organization, I would like to salute the fans of Red Sox Nation who have extended their own all-time Major League Baseball record to an astonishing 600 straight sellout games," Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino said. "We congratulate them for achieving this extraordinary milestone and for the passion and dedication they have for the game, for their team and for their ballpark. We will continue to work hard to ensure that we are worthy of their loyal and steadfast support."
Players and coaches recognized the fans of Red Sox Nation by tossing commemorative baseballs into the crowd at the start of Sunday's game.
"I think it is quite an accomplishment and I hope we don't take it for granted," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona.
The longest recorded regular-season sellout streak in American professional sports is owned by the Portland Trail Blazers, who had 744 consecutive sellouts from 1977-95.
Red Sox pencil in Beckett for Friday start
BOSTON -- After making his second rehab start for Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday, Josh Beckett will return to the Red Sox's rotation Friday, manager Terry Francona announced after Sunday's 4-2 loss to the Rangers.
Beckett with throw an extended side session Tuesday, then face the Mariners in Seattle on Friday. The start will also allow Jon Lester an extra day of rest.
"I think he feels pretty good about himself," Francona said. "He just wants to have a day where he can go throw his offspeed pitches and have an extended bullpen."
Against Syracuse on Saturday, Beckett pitched four innings, giving up three runs on five hits, while striking out three and walking one. On an 85-pitch limit, Beckett threw 81 pitches, 51 for strikes.
"I actually thought statistically my worst inning was the best I felt, just with the game coming to me," Beckett said. "My curveball early in the game, I was trying to make it happen instead of let it happen. In the third and fourth inning, I felt my breaking stuff was really good."
In his first rehab assignment with Pawtucket on July 11, Beckett pitched four innings, giving up one run on two hits. Beckett has been on the disabled list since May 19 with a lower back strain.
"I told them from my standpoint as far as the buildup goes, I felt like I threw 80 pitches [Saturday] and I still had gas in the tank," Beckett said. "We're still building up. We don't want to push the envelope too much."
Bowden recalled, to pitch out of bullpen
BOSTON -- Before Sunday's game against the Rangers, manager Terry Francona added another arm to the Red Sox's bullpen, bringing up reliever Michael Bowden.
Bowden was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket when Boston designated catcher Gustavo Molina.
Excited by his young and durable arm, the Sox have recently converted Bowden into a reliever. Beginning the year as a starter at Pawtucket, the righty has pitched as a reliever in his last four games. During that stretch, he has tossed six innings, giving up no earned runs and one hit, while striking out five.
"It sounds like he has taken to it really well and is excited," Francona said. "His breaking ball is what has been great and that has been coming anyway. In the reliever role, he has been down with his fastball and his slider has been really good."
"We are looking forward to this. This is a kid that has been on the radar for the last couple of years, and he has had spot starts and had a chance to make to team in Spring Training out of the bullpen, and it didn't happen."
While Bowden has not been told specifically what his role will be, he is excited just to have a chance to pitch out of the bullpen, believing it is his best chance to play with the Red Sox.
The biggest adjustments Bowden said since becoming a reliever have been the little things, like understanding his body and how long it takes to warm up and what type of situational adjustments he has to make for specific hitters.
"Every time the phone rings, your heart skips a beat," Bowden said. "It is an instant adrenaline rush, where in starting it is five days to prepare and you have pressure to prepare, where relieving, you come to the park every day thinking you could pitch."
When Bowden competed for a spot in the bullpen during Spring Training and didn't make the club, Francona knew he was disappointed, but told him that if he could pitch well, things will work out.
"We really enjoy having a home grown guy come up. Sometimes I think that is misrepresented because we are supposed to win and have a high payroll," Francona said. "I think we like when our kids come through and help us. We know what to expect out of them as people and know they know what is expected of them."
With the team Sunday before finishing his rehab stint with Triple-A Pawtucket, outfielder Jeremy Hermida should join the Red Sox when they open a series against the Mariners on Thursday in Seattle. "I don't see why Jeremy wouldn't join us right now in Seattle," manager Terry Francona said. " A few more days of hitting will be good for him though." ... Catcher Dusty Brown made his first Major League start Sunday, after entering Saturday's game in the ninth inning.
Quinn Roberts is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.