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A month after his injury, David Ortiz has a message for the doubters 08.17.12 at 1:57 am ET
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BALTIMORE ‘€“ David Ortiz checks Twitter on occasion. Recently he has been surprised at some of what he has seen.

A few messages to @DavidOrtiz have actually questioned the designated hitter’€™s motivations regarding his return from his right Achilles tendon injury. It has been one month since he left the Red Sox‘€™ lineup, and people are getting antsy.

Ortiz understands the impatience. What he doesn’€™t comprehend are the doubts.

‘€œYou’re talking to David Ortiz. I love being on the field. If I’m not on the field there’s a major reason,’€ he said. ‘€œI don’t just stop playing baseball because. You think with the season I’m having I want to be off the field? Hell no. As much as I mean to my team, and they need me, I want to be off the field? Nope. But injuries are injuries and the human body has a healing process.

‘€œWhen it comes down to that, especially with my age and my situation I have to be smart about it. If something goes down and I re-aggravate my injury, it’s not going to be good for anybody.’€

Ortiz took all three days in Baltimore off, only participating in regular training room treatment with no running or hitting. His hope is to return to the batting cage Friday, moving toward a return.

But with just six weeks remaining in the regular season, and Ortiz staring at another offseason of identifying his next contract, an uncomfortable topic is not being surfaced: the potential of not playing again this season.

‘€œHopefully not. I don’t see it that way,’€ he said regarding the possibility of shutting it down for the season. ‘€œI was talking to the doctor the other day and they told me, ‘Look, this is an injury where everybody is different. We put you on the 15-day disabled list, look at the MRI and we have seen guys heal up anywhere from three weeks to six weeks from this injury.’ Maybe I put a lot of pressure on that because I’m a big guy and it takes longer. Everybody is different. It’s something that happens. He said, ‘I know you are desperate for being on the field and are a little frustrated because you expected ready to go for the first few weeks and you’re walking into four weeks. But it’s a healing process.”€

Since Ortiz’€™ exited the lineup the Red Sox are 12-17, totaling the 15th-best OPS in baseball (.733) during the stretch. This after carrying the fourth-best OPS (.769) up until June 17.

And while the reality of free agency is on Ortiz’€™ radar, that isn’€™t what he’€™s currently prioritizing. Playing this season, he said, is the priority.

‘€œRight now, to be honest with you, I’m only focused on seeing if I can go back and play. That’s all I really care about,’€ he said. ‘€œBut at the same time, I want to play but I don’t want to re-injure the injury that is already there. Forget about what’s going to happen next year. Forget about what’s going to happen this offseason. I want to make sure, me personally, when I go out there I can keep on playing and I’m not going to be afraid to make a move or do anything.

‘€œThe doctor told me this is an injury that has a lot of ups and downs when I start playing. If I’m capable of going out and playing, that’s fine with me. If I’m capable of going out and playing, I don’t have a problem with that.’€

Aaron Cook: ‘We lost because I made an error’ 08.15.12 at 11:18 pm ET
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BALTIMORE ‘€“ A good throw could have made a big difference Wednesday night.

Just listen to the pitcher who made the toss in question, Aaron Cook.

‘€œYeah, I feel awful,’€ he said after the Red Sox‘€™ 5-3 loss to the Orioles. ‘€œI let the team down. We’€™re trying to win games, and that was a game we should have won. We lost because I made an error.’€

With one out in the sixth inning of the Red Sox’€™ game against the Orioles Wednesday night at Camden Yards, and the visitors holding a one-run lead, Cook fielded a comebacker off the bat of Baltimore’€™s Adam Jones.

The Red Sox starter immediately whipped around toward second base looking to what appeared to be an inning-ending, 1-6-3 double play.

But instead of escaping the frame still with the lead, Cook’€™s throw sailed wide of shortstop Mike Aviles and into center field. The result was a run for the Orioles, with J.J. Hardy scoring to tie it up.

One batter later, Matt Wieters launched a ground-rule double to left field, plating another run and driving Cook from the game.

When the inning was over, the Red Sox found themselves in a 5-2 hole, having used four pitchers in the pivotal frame.

‘€œIt’€™s a play I’ve made over 100 times,’€ Cook said. ‘€œI just didn’€™t get my feet set, tried to make a quick throw. I had plenty of time and just yanked it. It’€™s just a bad throw, and it ended up costing us the game. Stuff like that, I can’€™t let happen. I’ve got to be able to set my feet, take my time, make a good throw and we’€™re out of that inning with one run and we’€™re in here high-fiving right now.’€

Closing Time: Red Sox suffer a sudden collapse against Orioles once again 08.15.12 at 10:02 pm ET
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BALTIMORE — For a second straight night, things fell apart in a hurry for the Red Sox. This time it resulted in a 5-3 loss to the Orioles Wednesday night at Camden Yards.

The defeat put the Red Sox at four games under .500 (57-61) for the first time since May 13.

After Red Sox starter Aaron Cook made it through the first 5 1/3 innings without giving up a hit, the Orioles exploded in the sixth, scoring five runs while batting around in the order. Cook finished having surrendered five runs on three hits, walking three and striking out a batter. He was followed in the sixth by relievers Andrew Miller, Junichi Tazawa and Craig Breslow.

Here is what went wrong (and right) for the Red Sox:


– Baltimore’s J.J. Hardy broke up Cook’s no-hitter with one out in the sixth inning with a line-drive single to left field. Up until that point, the righty had only thrown 61 pitches, while getting 13 of his 14 outs on ground-outs. The next batter, Nate McLouth, rifled a single to center field to plate Nick Markakis (who had walked) with the host’s first run.

– Cook made a costly miscue in the sixth, when he gathered in Adam Jones‘ grounder back to the mound and sailed the potential 1-6-3, inning-ending double play into center field. The error allowed the Orioles to tie the game at 2-2, as Hardy scores. That led to Matt Wieters’ ground-rule double, giving the O’s a one-run lead.

– After not quite being able to get over to Wieters’ double, Red Sox left fielder Carl Crawford just missed reaching Mark Reynolds‘ line-drive into the left field corner. The double — which came against reliever Junichi Tazawa —  resulted in two more runs for the Orioles, boosting their lead to 5-2.

– Both Adrian Gonzalez and Bobby Valentine were ejected by home plate umpire Mike Everitt with one out in the eighth inning after Gonzalez complained about a strike call prior to grounding out to second base. It was Gonzalez’ second career ejection, and Valentine’s 41st. The Sox manager has been ejected four times this season.


Jacoby Ellsbury continued his historic streak against the Orioles, making it 38 straight games he has notched at least one hit against Baltimore. According to Elias, the streak is the second-longest since 1900 for any player against another team, only trailing Vlad Guerrero’s streak of 44 games vs. Texas. Ellsbury kept the streak alive by claiming a ground-rule double to center field in the fifth inning, scoring Scott Podsednik with the game’s first run.

– The Red Sox would increase their lead to 2-0 with another run in the fifth, this one coming courtesy Carl Crawford’s sacrifice fly, scoring Nick Punto. Punto would also score the Sox’ third run, coming in on a Crawford ground-out in the seventh to cut the Orioles’ lead to two runs.

– Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia absorbed a vicious collision with Adam Jones in the sixth inning, taking a throw from second baseman Dustin Pedroia (who was playing in) on Chris Davis‘ grounder. The play kept the Red Sox within a run at the time.

Adrian Gonzalez refutes claims made in report 08.15.12 at 8:09 pm ET
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BALTIMORE ‘€“ Speaking to WEEi.com prior to the Red Sox‘€™ game against the Orioles Wednesday night at Camden Yards, Adrian Gonzalez said that the Yahoo! Story portraying the first baseman as a ring-leader in the players’€™ July 26 meeting with ownership was not factual.

‘€œThe source is inaccurate,’€ Gonzalez said. ‘€œit says that I was animated and one of the most vocal guys in the meeting, and that’€™s false.’€

When asked if he was surprised after reading the report, Gonzalez said, ‘€œAbsolutely, because, first of all, if somebody is going to try and be an unnamed source they better be right with whatever they say. This is putting our integrity and everything about us out there, and that’€™s just unfair. ‘€¦ I just know I was one of the least vocal guys there.’€

Gonzalez also reiterated what Red Sox principal owner John Henry wrote in an email earlier Wednesday, stating that it was Henry who called the three separate meetings ‘€“ with the players, coaches, and manager.

‘€œYeah, he did,’€ the first baseman said when asked if Henry organized the meeting.

Gonzalez also refuted the report’€™s premise that part of the meeting was in order to force Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine out of the door, while downplaying any sort of rift between the player and manager.

‘€œDistractions are not a reason why we lose,’€ Gonzalez said. ‘€œWe’re professionals and we’re groomed to understand it’s part of the game, and we need to be above that. Whether I do good on the field has nothing to do with what’s written about me. When I step on the field I’m focused on winning the game. I had a discussion with Bobby about that today. He knows exactly what happened. He knows the truth. I don’t know why this all of a sudden becomes something because this happened a month ago. So it’s all been cleared, and now somebody decides to write it. It’s already old.

‘€œI think we’re all getting accustomed to Bobby. I’ve told this to John Henry, I’ve told this to Ben Cherington, and I’ve told it to Bobby, I think he’s a good manager. Nobody faults him for losing, and that’s unfair.’€

Gonzalez did relay the frustrations of the team in regards to dealing with such reports, a similar concern that was passed along Tuesday night by David Ortiz and others.

‘€œJust like every story around here, there are parts that are true, and parts that are false,’€ Gonzalez said. ‘€œI think it’s wrong for the fans to get half of a story, half of the truth. Our focus has been to just go out and play ball and just worry about baseball. Things like this come up that we have to respond to, but at the end of the day it’s about playing ball.

‘€œEvery story has it’s significance. Ballplayers get frustrated when things aren’t 100 percent accurate, because then it’s just making people perceive things that aren’t true. We care about the fans, the Boston people, Red Sox Nation, so if something is to come out we want it to be 100 percent honest. When it’s not it doesn’t put anybody in a good spot.’€

And what does Gonzalez believe is going to stop what has seemed like a non-stop wave of drama throughout the 2012 season?

‘€œEverything ends with winning. Everything ends with production,’€ he said. ‘€œWe make a run like we want to, like we’re striving for, this will all be on the back-burner at the end of the day. If we don’t, it will be part of the reason why and that’s unfortunate because us here in the clubhouse are focused on winning, focused on preparation and focused on doing everything we can to win. These are all side-notes that take away from our main goal.’€

Closing Time: Orioles keep slide going for Red Sox, Josh Beckett 08.14.12 at 10:01 pm ET
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BALTIMORE — While the season has slowly disintegrated for the Red Sox, Tuesday night’s 7-1 loss the Orioles fell apart in a hurry.

Most of the trouble for the Red Sox, this time, came in the sixth inning.

After turning in a strong first five innings, starter Josh Beckett ran into trouble in the sixth. Beckett was lifted with one out after giving up his third and fourth run, and then proceeded to be charged with two more runs thanks to Mark Reynolds‘ second home run of the game, coming against Sox reliever Mark Melancon.

Beckett finished giving up six runs over 5 1/3 innings, allowing six hits while striking out two and walking two. The righty threw 86 pitches. He now has given up 14 runs over 11 1/3 innings in his last two starts.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox couldn’t solve Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chen, who was coming off an outing against the Royals in which he allowed seven runs over 4 2/3 innings. This time the lefty held the Red Sox to just one run over six innings, lowering his ERA to 3.70. In three appearances against the Sox this season, Chen has allowed five earned runs over 18 innings.

The Sox now stand at 57-60, seven games in back of Baltimore in the chase for the wild card.

Here is what went wrong (and right) for the Red Sox.


‘€¢ Beckett fell victim to a pair of leadoff home runs, one by Omar Quintanilla in the third inning and another from Reynolds in the fifth. Both homers cleared the left field wall. Of the 14 home runs allowed by Beckett this season, eight have been with no outs in the inning.

‘€¢ Mike Aviles had a tough night, striking out three times while stranding four runners. Perhaps the most costly strikeout came with the potential tying run at third in the form of Cody Ross with one out in the sixth inning. After the Aviles punchout, Danny Valencia flew out to center to end the threat.

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Read More: Josh Beckett, mark melancon, Mark Reynolds, Wei-Yin Chen
Andrew Bailey feels he has a good grip on things 08.14.12 at 10:14 am ET
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BALTIMORE ‘€“ Since Andrew Bailey last pitched in a major league game he made a unique discovery. Through analysis of all things regarding his injured thumb, it was brought to the pitcher’€™s attention that his grip (on every pitch) includes placing his thumb underneath the baseball.

‘€œOne of our trainers, Mike Reinold, said, ‘€˜How do you grip a baseball?’€™ I showed him and then I went around the clubhouse and figured out I was the only who does it,’€ Bailey said. ‘€œIt’€™s just one of those weird things where we’€™re looking at all the evidence, I guess.’€

So, with Bailey trying to put his UCL surgery in the rear-view mirror, while trying to regain the momentum of his big league career, the question has to be asked: Will he try and take stress of his surgically-repaired thumb and alter the way he holds a baseball?

‘€œNo,’€ he said. ‘€œI figured if I could go another 28 years without having the surgery I will be OK. Talking to the doctors, it’€™s just a freak thing. Everything feels normal now. It’€™s all behind me.’€

Bailey wants to reiterate that his method of throwing a baseball has nothing to do with the injury sustained in spring training.

And, after giving up just one run over six appearances ‘€“ striking out 10 and walking one ‘€“ in his recent rehab assignment, Bailey continues to have confidence in maintaining his usual approach.

‘€œIt is different,’€ said the righty of his grip. ‘€œDr. [Thomas] Graham said it’€™s one of those things that weakened over time and I feel I could have done it doing anything. But now it’€™s strong, just like it was before. It feels good.’€

A look at what the Red Sox will do without Will Middlebrooks 08.11.12 at 9:40 am ET
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According to a team source, Will Middlebrooks suffered a fractured right wrist after being hit by a 96 mph fastball from Esmil Rogers in the ninth inning of the Red Sox‘€™ 3-2 win over the Indians Friday night.

So, where do the Red Sox go from here?

The team hasn’€™t ruled out Middlebrooks returning this season, but it would probably behoove the Red Sox to proceed as if living life without the rookie for the remainder of ‘€™12 is the likely scenario.

Here are the team’€™s third base options:

Pedro Ciriaco: The latest ‘€œmost popular athlete in Boston’€ hasn’€™t played any third base for the Red Sox since joining the team this season, although he does have experience at the position.

Ciriaco played two major league games at third with the Pirates in ‘€™11, albeit for just six innings, after playing one game there for Triple-A Indianapolis. He also manned third base for three games this season with Triple-A Pawtucket.

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine has clearly prioritized finding ways to get Ciriaco into the lineup, as has been evidenced by the 26-year-old manning four different positions (including designated hitter).

Ciriaco hasn’€™t hit a wall as of yet, still maintaining a .341 batting average, and .831 OPS, while going 6-for-6 in stolen base attempts. In his 28 appearances, only one time has he has only gone two straight starts in which he has failed to manage at least one hit.

Nick Punto: The veteran infielder has played more games at third base (22) than any other position this season. He also manned third 48 times in ‘€™10.

The 34-year-old has struggled offensively this season ‘€“ hitting .200 with a .302 on-base percentage ‘€“ and the average goes down to .159 when looking at games solely played at third.

But Punto  may represent the team’€™s best defensive option at third base, and he has hit better when getting consistent playing time, as was exemplified during a six-game stretch filling in for Dustin Pedroia from May 29-June 3.

Danny Valencia: The newly-acquired third baseman ‘€“ who is being added to the 25-man roster — has never played any other position but the hot corner and was the Twins’€™ everyday player at the position through the ‘€™11 season.

During that run as Minnesota’€™s regular third baseman, Valencia hit .246 with an OPS of .677 and 15 homers in 154 games. He got off to a bad start, hitting .219 in the season’€™s first three months, but rebounded to show some promise via a .294 average and .783 OPS in July and August.

Valencia wasn’€™t able to carry over the momentum this season, hitting just .198 with an OPS of .522 before being dealt to the Red Sox.

Valencia had played in just two games with the Pawtucket Red Sox, coming away with two hits and a pair of walks in nine plate appearances.

Mike Aviles: The Red Sox could choose to move Aviles over to third base and play Ciriaco consistently at shortstop, although there has been some hesitation to move the infielder out of short at any time this season. Aviles has 60 games of major league experience at third, including 22 appearances with the Red Sox in ’11.

And, in case you were wondering about the value of Middlebrooks, understand that the Red Sox are 43-32 in games he has played in. He is third on the team in OPS (.835), while managing a .333 average with runners on base, and .332 clip with runners in scoring position.

Middlebrooks is also hitting .306 with a .923 OPS from after the sixth inning.

And no Middlebrooks’€™ post would be complete this season without the inevitable Kevin Youkilis update ‘€¦

Since the trade with the White Sox, Youkilis is hitting .244 with an .846 OPS and nine home runs, with Chicago totaling a 23-14 record in games he has played. During that span, Middlebrooks  — who had been sidelined with hamstring issues even before this trip to the disabled list ‘€“ has hit .244 with a .700 OPS and six homers during the span.

It should be noted, however, that since July 23 Middlebrooks has out-performed Youkilis, hitting .300 with an .887 OPS. Over that span, the Chicago third baseman is hitting just .184 with an OPS of .814.

A reminder why Clay Buchholz might be the Red Sox’ most important player 08.11.12 at 8:30 am ET
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Remember when people were asking if Clay Buchholz still had options?

There has been perhaps no better reminder regarding the value of patience within a baseball season than what Buchholz has presented this season.

Through his first five starts, nobody in baseball (among qualifying pitchers) had a higher ERA (8.69), with Buchholz having given up the second-most hits (40) while totaling the third-worst batting average against (.331).

Now, after Friday night’s complete game, two-hitter, we have a drastically different picture.

Nobody (again, among qualifying pitchers) in baseball has been better than Buchholz over his last five starts. He has turned in the most innings (39), while managing a 1.15 ERA — which is second only to Tampa Bay’s Matt Moore’s 1.05.

‘€œWell, I believed in him. There were some doubting Thomases out there. I wanted to stick with him,” Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine told reporters after his team’s 3-2 win over Cleveland. “He was throwing without a changeup early in the season, and that May game Josh and he, right before the game, talked about a split-finger changeup after he warmed up and before he went out. He used it in that game and it’€™s been effective for him since.”

It’s hard to argue that the revamped changeup has been part of the solution.

In that initial five-start stretch, through April, hitters were managing a .438 batting average and .813 OPS against Buchholz’ change, which the pitcher threw 57 times over that period.

In the starter’s last five appearances, he has thrown his changeup 70 times, resulting in a .105 batting average and .263 OPS.

“As far as the changeup goes, it was probably about five starts ago that I started throwing it more, mixed in that little split-change that I’ve been throwing,” he told reporters. “That was more or less for days that my straight change wasn’t there that I could throw that, but as of late, they’ve both been pitching I’ve been using in a game. Getting some good defense behind me in just about every start I run out there, too. It’s fun to pitch whenever you know your team’s going to score you a couple runs. That’s where we’re at.”

Whether it’s because of the revamped pitch, or simply the fact Buchholz has found an extended stretch of health, he has become perhaps the Red Sox’ most important player.

Sure, if the Red Sox are going to fill Valentine’s prophecy of contending for a division they are currently 11 games out of, Buchholz will have to lead the way. (“We want to play as well as we can as often as we can and have the end results be what they are and see where we are. I’€™m still thinking that this is a division that we want to win,” the manager said before Friday night’s game.) The Sox, for example, have won eight of the last 10 games in which the starter has pitched.

But this season only represents a small percentage of Buchholz’s value, especially considering the team’s current lot in life. Even without the division pipe-dream, the Red Sox find themselves six games out of the loss column when it comes to a wild card berth.

In amidst a roster of questionable contracts, it is Buchholz’ deal that might save the day in some respects. If not for the extension he signed at the outset of the ’11 season, the pitcher would have been a free agent at the conclusion of the ’14 season. Instead, he will be making $12 million in ’15, while riding out club options of $13 million and $13.5 million, respectively, in ’16 and ’17.

That’s $38.5 million for what would have been three years into Buchholz’ existence as a free agent-eligible player. That would be a stretch the Red Sox would otherwise be forced to stretch their payroll in an attempt to solidify the top of the rotation.

But it appears Buchholz will offer the team some much-needed peace of mind while it continues to dance around what may be an uncomfortable payroll situation in the years to come.

There was a reason Toronto general manager Alex Anthopolous identified Buchholz as the player he wanted in exchange for the right for the Red Sox to talk to John Farrell about becoming their manager. In the eyes of other organizations, the soon-to-be 28-year-old (Tuesday is his birthday) is the Red Sox’ most valuable commodity.

Friday night just cemented that.

Closing Time: Clay Buchholz continues to dominate, this time leading Red Sox past Indians 08.10.12 at 9:47 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz keeps on living the life of a staff ace.

Friday night, the Red Sox starter tossing a complete game while leading the Sox to a 3-2 win over the Indians at Progressive Field.

Buchholz finished allowing two runs over nine innings, lowering his ERA in his last five starts to 1.15. It was the first time that the righty has gotten through nine innings without giving up a walk, with the hurler striking out six without issuing any free passes. He finished throwing 104 pitches.

It was just the third win for the Red Sox in 10 games this month, snapping a three-game losing streak.

Here is what went right (and wrong) for the Red Sox:


Dustin Pedroia knotted the game for the Red Sox in the fourth inning, singling in Mike Aviles with one out.  Aviles had reached third after walking and then moving up two bases on Chris Seddon’€™s errant pickoff throw. Pedroia would finish with his fifth multi-hit game in 10 August appearances, having come into the game hitting .343 with seven runs during the span.

Cody Ross took Seddon’€™s 85th pitch of the night 420 feet for his 18th homer of the season in the sixth inning. The blast gave the Red Sox a 3-1 lead. The blast to center field plated Pedroia, who reached via his second single of the night. It was just the fifth time Ross has hit a homer on a pitch that wasn’€™t a fastball, taking advantage of a slider.

– In his return to the Red Sox, Scott Podsednik came away with an infield single in his second at-bat of the night. The outfielder has hit safely in seven of his last eight games, albeit with his previous hit prior to Friday coming on June 17.


– With nobody out in the sixth inning, Pedroia misplayed a Jason Donald grounder up the middle, committing his third error of the season. The damage was made worse when Aviles scooped up the errant grounder and threw it into the stands in an attempt to throw behind Donald at first, allowing the baserunner to reach third. The play resulted in the Indians’€™ second run when Ezequiel Carrera notched a sacrifice fly to right field.

– The Indians jumped on the board first thanks to Asdrubal Cabrera’€™s solo homer in the first inning. It was just the second home run allowed by Buchholz in his last six outings.

– Will Middlebrooks was hit by a 96 mph fastball from Esmil Rogers on his right hand. The ninth-inning injury forced the rookie from the game.

– The Red Sox couldn’€™t solve reliever Cody Allen, who became the second player in the 2011 draft to make it to the major leagues despite being picked in the 23rd round. The only other member of the ‘€™11 draft class to make it the bigs thus far is Arizona’€™s Trevor Bauer, the third overall pick. By throwing a perfect seventh inning, hitters are now 1-for-29 against the rookie. He did, however, give up a single to Aviles and walk to Pedroia in the eighth before being lifted with one out.

David Ortiz comes to the defense of Josh Beckett 08.08.12 at 6:59 am ET
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David Ortiz was angry.

He was watching television in one of the days following Josh Beckett‘€™s Fenway Park start, in which the starter was forced to leave early due to a back spasm. The line of conversation centered around Beckett potentially faking his injury.

‘€œAre you kidding me?’€ Ortiz exclaimed.

‘€œWhen it comes to Josh Beckett, this is a guy who likes competition. Trust me, the way he was pitching that night, he wanted no part of being out of the game. I know what I’m talking about. This is the same guy who later that night couldn’t even get out of a chair or bend over to pick something up. I heard some guys faking injuries, but, dude, this is the big leagues. In the 15 years I’ve been in the league I’ve never seen anyone fake an injury. When you fake an injury you’re just pulling against yourself. You’re just taking money out of your pocket.

‘€œI think it was totally wrong about how lots of people made it sound like. I’m pretty sure a lot of those people who wanted to make it sound like he faked an injury regret it right now.’€

Beckett only lasted 2 2/3 innings in his most recent outing, ultimately having to walk off the mound under a chorus of boos when his back gave way.

The injury forced Beckett to miss his scheduled start Sunday, pushing back his turn to Wednesday afternoon. There was no bullpen session in the days leading up to the outing due to the ailment, with the righty having to settle on a flat-ground side session Sunday.

‘€œI’€™m good. Just muscle spasms,’€ Beckett said Tuesday during in an interview on WAAF. ‘€œWe traveled in late from New York, and I didn’€™t sleep particularly well. I had a lot of anxiety and stress things going on, exterior distractions. I don’€™t think a lot of it was great for my back. Then going out and pitching on that mound, it was very wet and my back just locked up on me.’€

While Beckett’€™s back will be the primary focus of those watching the Red Sox starter in his team’€™s series finale against the Rangers, so will be the crowd’€™s reaction.

In the July 31 start, Beckett became the first Boston athlete in recent memory to leave a field due to injury while being peppered with boos. It was another aspect of the pitcher’€™s existence that got Ortiz’€™ blood boiling.

‘€œI think it’€™s wrong,’€ the Red Sox’€™ designated hitter said of the fans booing Beckett.

‘€œThis is a fact that a player got injured trying to do his job. I think that’€™s something that needs to be thought about. I understand the booing is coming from the fans because there has been a lot of frustration around here lately and there’€™s been a lot of talk about my boy. And there’€™s been some negative stuff that has been put in peoples’€™ heads.

‘€œJosh is the kind of guy who is very emotional. He’€™s a guy who when he takes the field he wants to bring his best out. People get used to the performance we bring to the field when we are at his best, and I don’t blame them. But this game isn’t as easy as it looks. That’s why there are a lot of ups and downs.

‘€œThe bottom line is competing here is not easy. Not everyone can do it. He’s one of those guys who showed the whole world he can handle it.’€

Beckett, who enters Wednesday with a 5-9 mark and a 4.59 ERA, admitted following the start that he heard, and digested the crowd’€™s reaction. But, as the 32-year-old reiterated on the radio, the public perception isn’€™t going to alter much when it comes to the way he approaches his day-to-day.

‘€œI think for me, I’€™m just me. I don’€™t pay too much mind to when people have their opinions about it,’€ Beckett said. ‘€œI’€™m not going to change and I think sometimes that’€™s kind of what the media outlets want you to do here. They want you to be who they want you to be instead of just who you are. I’€™m just me, and I have a really good support group around me. As long as I don’€™t do anything to piss my wife off, I’€™ll be OK.’€

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