Beckett to miss start with inflamed shoulder

June, 15, 2012
6/15/12
6:23
PM ET
CHICAGO -- No, we don’t know how Josh Beckett spent his off-day Thursday in Chicago.

What we do know is that the Red Sox right-hander, who has been a model of pitching comportment in his last half-dozen starts after missing a turn, has been scratched from Sunday night’s start against the Cubs with what manager Bobby Valentine called “right shoulder inflammation.’’

Left-hander Franklin Morales, who has been used exclusively in relief by the Red Sox but began his career with the Colorado Rockies as a starter -- he faced the Sox in the 2007 World Series -- will draw the assignment in Beckett’s place.

Beckett, who last pitched Monday in Miami against the Marlins, allowing seven hits and four runs in a 4-1 loss to his former team, was declared a no-go, Valentine said, after undergoing routine tests by the Sox training staff.

“He didn’t feel it during his side [session],’’ Valentine said. “It was in the training room when they tested him. He’s not quite recovering on a five-man rotation right now.’’

Beckett is likely to undergo further testing, Valentine said. The pitcher is expected to address his situation Friday.

Beckett last missed a start on May 5 with what was described at the time as soreness in his right lat muscle, the large muscle in the back of the shoulder. He sparked a tempest when it was reported that he had gone golfing the day after Valentine had said he was unable to take his turn, Beckett adding to the controversy when he insisted he did not have to answer for his behavior.

Upon returning to the rotation May 10, Beckett was hammered for 7 runs in 2 1/3 innings in an 8-3 loss to the Indians and was loudly booed, but since then has posted a 2.68 ERA in six starts, though the Red Sox have dropped the last three.

There was little to indicate Monday night in Miami that Beckett was having arm issues. His fastball velocity averaged around 91 miles an hour and he touched 93, and he threw all of his pitches, though he relied heavily on his two-seamed fastballs while throwing far fewer cutters than he had in his previous start against the Orioles.

Valentine said the injury is “nothing serious,” though the Red Sox will seek assurance of that in additional testing.

“He’ll be pitching again, that’s for sure,’’ Valentine said.

The Sox could ill afford the loss of a starting pitcher of Beckett’s stature for any length of time. The club elected not to bring back Daniel Bard, who began the season in the rotation but was demoted to Pawtucket. Bard struck out four in two scoreless innings Thursday night for Pawtucket.

Gordon Edes

Red Sox reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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