09/14/11 1:34 AM ET
Beckett likely to return Friday vs. Rays
Francona unsure who will start series opener at Fenway Park
By Evan Drellich / MLB.com
Going into Tuesday's 18-6 win over the Blue Jays, Boston's rotation wasn't set beyond Wednesday, but manager Terry Francona said after Tuesday's game that Josh Beckett is likely to return from a right ankle sprain to pitch on Friday -- the second game of four in a big series against the Rays at Fenway Park.
"I think he's going to pitch Friday. That's not exactly set in stone, but I think that's where we're leaning," Francona said. "He's going to come out tomorrow, cover first, those types of things. Have a full workout, and I think Friday's looking good."
Beckett had a planned Tuesday visit with Dr. George Theodore at Fenway Park that was "not any big powwow or anything," Francona said. The Sox were deciding on whether to start Beckett Thursday or Friday, but going forward, if there's a setback on Wednesday, it would be hard to see Beckett's start being moved up to Thursday as a result.
Beckett felt strong Monday after a side session at Fenway Park. He sprained the ankle in his last start on Sept. 5.
"He feels really good," said Francona, who did not watch the session but got a report from pitching coach Curt Young. "[Beckett] said he could have pitched yesterday, which is good news. We've got to come up with a starter Thursday or Friday. I said, 'Whatever is in your best interest. If you think the extra day helps you even more, we'll push you back.' That's where we're at."
Kyle Weiland could get the nod in Thursday's opener vs. Tampa Bay, as could Alfredo Aceves. Weiland threw a side session on Tuesday, and a Thursday start would come on a standard four days' rest, but the Sox have enough hands on deck that they could go with a patchwork start, too, if they needed.
"Kyle is throwing a side today, so he is certainly available to do that," Francona said. "We honestly don't know."
If the Sox started Aceves and he went four or five innings, "we can cover it, because we have a lot of bodies here now," said Francona. "We're still trying to figure out what to do going forward.
"Some of this is going to have to do with how [Erik] Bedard's doing. He's certainly not going to [start] Thursday or Friday, but some of this is going to fall into place. There's not really a rush to have to make a decision right now."
Bedard, bothered by his left lat and left knee, had a light catch on Tuesday. The southpaw could get a start on Monday, when the Sox play a doubleheader with the O's at Fenway.
As for Clay Buchholz, he also played catch on Tuesday and is in line to pitch off the mound later this week.
"We'll see how he bounces back," Francona said. "When he gets to this effort level, we want to see how he bounces back, and so we kind of reserve that right. But he's getting himself towards the bullpen, for sure."
Back spasms force Papi out of lineup
BOSTON -- Poor timing for a tight back led the Red Sox to use a pinch-hitter in the first inning Tuesday night at Fenway Park.
In a game where the Red Sox's offense erupted for its highest run output since August 2009, designated hitter and cleanup man David Ortiz was pulled before he had an at-bat because of back spasms.
"Right before the game, and I mean right before the game, his back was getting stiff," manager Terry Francona said after Boston's 18-6 win over Toronto. "He thought he was going to be OK. We had to take the lineup cards out, so rather than take him out, we thought he had a shot. We turned the lineup cards in and he went to swing and it got really tight, so we had to scratch him."
NESN's Heidi Watney reported that Ortiz felt his back tighten up while sleeping on the plane back from Tampa Bay on Sunday, and that he was again sore on Monday, when the team was scheduled off.
Jed Lowrie went 0-for-4 in Ortiz's place.
The Red Sox have a quick turnaround on Wednesday, with a 1:35 p.m. ET scheduled start against the Jays.
Youk returns; plans offseason hernia surgery
BOSTON -- Kevin Youkilis is planning to undergo sports hernia surgery, but until the offseason, he plans to play through the pain of that injury, as well as the bursitis in his left hip.
"I'm doing basically the same," the third baseman said before the Red Sox and Blue Jays played Tuesday at Fenway Park. "Basically, it's just going out there and playing, playing through it, and after the season, I'm going to address the sports hernia issue by getting surgery. It's an easy procedure that a lot of guys have done."
Batting fifth, Youkilis was hit in the area of his left hip by the Jays' Brandon Morrow in his first at-bat. Youkilis hadn't played since Thursday in Toronto.
The decision to reinsert Youkilis was made after he worked out on a team off-day Monday, and manager Terry Francona plans to get Youkilis rest going forward.
"Youk came out yesterday and worked out a little bit. If he wouldn't have done that, he probably wouldn't have been able to play today," Francona said. "I called him a couple of times, and he said, 'Nah, I'm ready to go.' Because he knows where he's at physically, he's probably able to try to get through this a little bit. You may not see him steal 30 bases, which probably wasn't going to happen anyway, but he can still be productive like he was."
Youkilis said he would try to play through his injuries even if the Red Sox weren't suddenly facing a pennant race. Though the bursitis and hernia are in the similar areas, Youkilis said he wasn't sure how correlated the two injuries are. Youkilis received an injection to calm the inflammation in his hip, but he said its effects were not miraculous.
"In September, there are always a lot of guys hurting and feeling stuff. I've been unfortunate with my hip that it just never really has healed," Youkilis said. "It basically has been inflamed. We tried with the injection. It's one of those things where you hope it gets better and better, but it just hasn't. ... We've got some special padding to put on it for sliding and all the other things. Basically, we're going to attack it as best we can, go day to day and play as best as I can tolerate it. Hopefully that's every day and all nine innings."
Jenks diagnosed with pulmonary embolism
BOSTON -- Out of all the back exams Bobby Jenks had to go through in a lost year on the field, out of all the testing and all the disappointment, there came a discovery the right-hander and the team are glad they had a chance to make.
"Bobby actually had a small pulmonary embolism," manager Terry Francona said Tuesday. "Through the course of all this testing they were doing on his back, they found a pulmonary embolism, which is certainly nothing to mess around with. There just needed to be a lot of testing. Bobby was put on proper medication, and that's probably going to slow down the efforts to look at his back a little bit. But in a hurry, the back becomes secondary. Bobby's doing fine, he's on proper medication, he's doing great."
A pulmonary embolism occurs when one or more arteries in the lungs is blocked, according to the Mayo Clinic's website. In most cases, they're caused by a blood clot traveling from another part of the body into the lungs.
"I don't believe so," Francona said when asked if the injury is career threatening. "This was a very small -- I mean, [this is] still nothing to mess around with, but it's a very small -- embolism. They have it under control. Certainly, they want it to go away, but I think they feel that he's in good shape."
Bothered by his back most of the year, Jenks hasn't pitched for the Sox since July 7. In the first season of a two-year deal, he made just 19 appearances.
Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn is an advocate for awareness for deep vein thrombosis, a condition that can lead to pulmonary embolisms.
Sox add five more players to active roster
BOSTON -- Fenway Park's clubhouses are already small, and the first game of any homestand always brings out extra media. Combined with the five roster additions the Red Sox made, Tuesday afternoon was a crowded scene.
With Triple-A Pawtucket's season ending Sunday, outfielder Joey Gathright, first baseman Lars Anderson, shortstop Jose Iglesias, left-hander Trever Miller and right-hander Junichi Tazawa joined the big league club, along with manager Arnie Beyeler.
All five players should be role players, at most. Miller's a situational lefty, Anderson could spell Adrian Gonzalez at first base if the Red Sox have the opportunity to rest their big bopper, and Iglesias gives Boston a top-notch reserve glove up the middle.
Neither Gathright nor Miller were on the 40-man rosters, so the Sox transferred outfielder J.D. Drew to the 60-day disabled list and designated Nate Spears for assignment to make room.
The return to the Majors created a bit of a whirlwind for the 30-year-old Gathright, who signed with the Red Sox as a Minor League free agent on Aug. 31 and appeared in four regular-season games with Pawtucket. He spent most of the year in independent ball with the Yuma Scorpions in Arizona.
"It was like three games left in the season and [Jose] Canseco, who was our manager, called my room, and he was like 'I think Boston's in town to come see you,'" Gathright said. "I was like, 'Come on, Jose. It's like three games left.'
"I thought he was messing around, but apparently he was telling the truth and it all worked out. That's basically it. Not a great story, but I'm just happy to be back, because I didn't think it would happen this year."
The speedy Gathright's last stint in the Majors came in 2009, also with the Sox. He's played parts of six seasons in the bigs and stolen 80 bases.
"Joey, the one thing he's here for is to maybe pinch-run," manager Terry Francona said. "He's got that ability to steal a base or score from first on a double. That's basically what they were trying to see, if he could impact a game when he was at Triple-A, and he knows that and did a really good of it. We know him. Maybe he has a chance to pinch-run at some point and win us a game."
Anderson, 23, spent the whole season with Pawtucket and hit .265 with 31 doubles and 14 home runs in 136 games. The 21-year-old Iglesias is in his second stint with the Sox after an early-season callup, and he finished the year with the International League's best fielding percentage (.973) for a shortstop, but a low batting average (.235).
"A little bit more aggressive, hit the ball with a little more authority," Francona said of Iglesias' second-half approach at the plate. "The first half of the year, kind of a hollow batting average. His progression maybe a little different than everybody else's. You may not see everything until he gets to the big leagues."
The 38-year-old Miller went 0-1 with one save, a 4.19 ERA and 11 strikeouts in 45 Major League appearances this season between St. Louis and Toronto. Tazawa, 25, is returning from Tommy John surgery, which he underwent last April.
The roster move for Drew doesn't change much, because he's less than a week away from being retroactively eligible to return. As for Spears, Francona said he wanted "to make sure he understood how he's felt about in this organization. We really like him."
Ortiz finds new home for charity golf outing
BOSTON -- The David Ortiz Celebrity Golf Classic will be held at a new venue in the Dominican Republic this winter, with the same purpose it's always had: to help provide healthcare for children.
Ortiz announced in a news conference at Fenway Park on Tuesday that the Fishing Lodge Cap Cana, a Salamander Caribbean Resort set to open on Oct. 12, will host this year's event from Dec. 1-4. The outing has raised more than $650,000 in its first three years, and it's a draw for his teammates and celebrities from other walks of life.
The golf outing directly benefits the David Ortiz Children's Fund, which was founded in 2006 and provides critical pediatric healthcare in the Dominican Republic and in Massachusetts, through partnerships with the World Pediatric Project and Massachusetts General Hospital for Children.
"To be honest with you, I don't really realize how much it means to me until they bring all the kids before and after the surgery," Ortiz said. "It's just watching the kids and the big smile on their face. It definitely lets me go to sleep the way I always wanted, thinking that God put everybody in different types of situations, put myself in this situation just to be able to help kids."
Ortiz said he didn't have his guest-list for this year's event narrowed down. Alex Rodriguez, Pedro Martinez, Mariano Rivera, Ryan Howard, Bill Russell and Bobby Orr have attended in the past.