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Pregame Notes: Beckett held back, Cameron moving forward

The Red Sox [1] will not allow injured starter Josh Beckett [2] to start throwing for about 10 days, according to manager Terry Francona [3], out of concern that his back discomfort could create other mechanical issues or injuries. Beckett has been out since May 12 due to what the team is describing as a lower back strain. But the team became considered when he ran into difficulties repeating his delivery in a bullpen session on Friday, resulting in the decision to further slow down his rehab.

[Francona explains [4] Beckett situation.]

“We’€™re going to slow him down a little bit. By that, probably, I don’€™t know if we’€™re going to have a firm timetable, but probably about 10 days,” said Francona. “We lean on this guy too much, or we need to. So until we can completely get back where he’€™s going through his delivery, we’€™re going to make him take it easy. I think he understands it. I don’€™t think he probably loves it. I think he realizes this is where his best interest ends up probably being our best interest, so we’€™re going to be pretty firm about this.

“He can do a lot of things, but when we get him back out there throwing, we don’€™t want him making any adjustments to his delivery, to his arm slot, because that’€™s where we run into problems.”

Beckett is 1-1 with a 7.29 ERA for the Sox this year.

Meanwhile, outfielder Mike Cameron [5] received an encouraging medical report from a specialist at MGH who examined his abdomen on Wednesday morning. While the 37-year-old had been experiencing discomfort in the left side of his abdomen (the opposite side from the area where he endured the tear that landed him on the disabled list in April), the doctor with whom he met on Wednesday informed him that he is not dealing with a tear in a different area.

[Click here [6] to listen to Francona explain the Cameron injury situation.]

“Good update,” said manager Francona. “We ruled out any of the things that happened on the other side. There’€™s certainly some inflammation. It’€™s actually kind of deep. I think Cam feels a lot better knowing that, when this subsides, and it already is, to the point where he can do everything he wants, he’€™s not going to hurt himself. Already, you see a little different look in his eyes. That was really good news.”

Cameron is out of the lineup on Wednesday, and Francona suggested that he may be out on Thursday as well. Moreover, the manager reiterated what has been said since Cameron came back, namely that the Sox will monitor his playing time to try to allow him to manage his pain.

Nonetheless, the diagnosis offered reassurance to Cameron that when he is playing, he can do so without fear of further injury.

“I just think he wanted to know he wasn’€™t going to hurt himself. He’€™s a tough kid. He plays through a lot,” said Francona. “But this has been troubling for him. There are certain things, at times, he though physically he can’€™t do.”

Cameron is hitting .277/.370/.383/.753 for the season, and knocked in his first runs as a Red Sox on Sunday.


Jason Varitek [7] will start and catch Daisuke Matsuzaka [8]. While Matsuzaka has pitched his best games with Varitek behind the plate this year, Francona said that the decision was related more to the schedule. Catcher Victor Martinez [9], who went 5-for-5 with four doubles on Tuesday, is still dealing with an injured left big toe. With the Sox scheduled to play a day game on Thursday after their Wednesday night contest, the team wanted Martinez to rest before catching Tim Wakefield [10] in the series finale against the A’s.

“The way his toe is, I think we were reaching for a little too much,” said Francona. “I saw the way he was swinging. It was great. But the three games in less than three days, I don’€™t know if that’€™s going to work.”

–Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury [11] did some running in the outfield and some swinging under the eye of rehab coordinator Scott Waugh. The Sox have yet to decide whether Ellsbury will make the upcoming roadtrip to Baltimore and Cleveland or remain behind to continue his rehab.

“It’€™s going to be hopefully a progression of moving forward as opposed to moving backwards,” said Francona. “Every quote I give you probably needs to be consistent, because it’€™s not really changing.”

David Ortiz [12] and Jon Lester [13] were named the American League’s Player and Pitcher of the Month for May. Ortiz has received the award on three previous occasions (Sept. 2005, July 2006, Sept. 2007), while Lester has been honored twice before (July and Sept. 2008).

Lester seemed more excited about Ortiz’ recognition than his own.

“[Ortiz] deserves it. It was a huge month for him, not only for us as a team but personally,” said Lester. “I think a lot of people wrote him off at the beginning of the year. He kind of came back and stuck it in their face and said, ‘I’m not going anywhere.’ It’s good to see him be a presence in our lineup again and a presence in our clubhouse. With him swinging the bat like that and having that attitude he’s always had, it helps this clubhouse out.”

Ortiz’ 10 homers were his most since Sept. 2006, the year when he finished the season with 54 homers. He also hit .363/.424/.788/1.211 in the month.

Lester went 5-0 with a 1.84 ERA in the month to earn his award.

“That’s stuff you don’t really play for, but it’s nice,” said Lester. “I’m obviously honored to be named that. But I’m just more concerned with how our team’s been playing. We’ve been playing better baseball.”