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Ellsbury needs ‘a little bit more rest’ 06.09.10 at 10:38 pm ET
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CLEVELAND — According to Red Sox manager Terry Francona the report from Dr. Lewis Yocum in regards to Jacoby Ellsbury’s injured ribs suggested “he needs a little bit more rest.” Francona couldn’t give the complete evaluation since he hadn’t gotten the opportunity to fully debrief with both Yocum and the team’s medical director, Dr. Thomas Gill.

“We want to talk through it,” Francona said. “I think Tom and Yocum have talked since I heard about it, but we’ll probably stay here a while and try to get some information tonight.” Ellsbury was in Los Angeles being examined by Yocum Wednesday. For more information on the Red Sox see the team page by clicking here.

Closing Time: Indians 11, Red Sox 0 06.09.10 at 9:49 pm ET
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CLEVELAND — Former Red Sox pitcher Justin Masterson turned in perhaps his best start as a major leaguer, allowing no runs on two hits over nine innings. The result was an 11-0 victory for the Indians, Wednesday night at Progressive Field. Masterson, who was 1-0 with a 2.92 ERA over his previous two starts, induced 17 ground ball outs to just three fly outs.

It was Masterson’s second career complete game, having pitched on in his last start of the 2009 season.

Masterson’s counterpart, Sox starter Clay Buchholz, didn’t pitch too poorly, but wasn’t as sharp as he had been in building a five-game win streak coming into the game. Buchholz finished his outing allowing three runs on four hits, walking four and striking just one one over seven innings. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, their relievers (Boof Bonser, Joe Nelson) combined to surrender eight runs in the eighth inning to put the game well out of reach.

The Red Sox, whose only two hits came from J.D. Drew and Victor Martinez, never got a baserunner to second base. (Click here for a complete recap.)

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

- Masterson pitched.

- Clay Buchholz showed he was human. After winning each of his last five starts, and coming into Wednesday night having tossed 18 straight scoreless innings, Buchholz didn’t have the command he has had of late. The Red Sox starter only surrendered three runs, but did walk the four while throwing two key wild pitches. (The second wild pitch scored Jhonny Peralta with the Indians’ third run.) His strike total was 61 out of 107 pitches, the lowest number of strikes he had thrown since May 8.

- The left-handed approach didn’t pay off for the Red Sox. The Sox stacked their lineup with lefties against Masterson, who came into the game allowing left-handed hitters a .370 batting average, compared to the .246 clip against righties. The starter had also struck out right-handed hitters at a much higher rate, fanning 37 and walking 11, compared to a 18-to-22 ratio vs. left-handers.This time around, Masterson managed both sides of the plate, getting five of his six punch-outs against lefties (David Ortiz twice).

- Dustin Pedroia continued to struggle. The Sox second baseman came into the game going 13-for-74 (.176) in his last 18 games. Wednesday he went 0-for-4 to lower his batting average to .249, his lowest since April 9.

- David Ortiz also has seen his bat stay silent, going hitless in three at-bats with the two strikeouts.Ortiz his now hitting .103 in June (3-for-29) after winning the American League Player of the Month through May. In regard to letting Ortiz find his way out the slump — and Mike Lowell’s lack of playing time (two starts in the last 18 games) — Terry Francona suggested a change of approach from the beginning of the season, when he was platooning Ortiz and Lowell more times than not.

“I think earlier in the season there were times where I was trying to make things reach and I think they weren’€™t reaching and it probably got in the way sometimes of guys swinging the bat better,” Francona said. “You try and keep everybody productive and you end up hurting everybody’€™s production, with the day’€™s off ‘€¦ We tell the guys, sometimes it’€™s not fair. But you have to do what you think is right.’€

- The bullpen was brutal. After Buchholz’ seven innings, Bonser made his first appearance for the Red Sox a forgettable one. The big right-hander allowed a four-pitch walk to Trevor Crowe, who promptly stole second, a single to Shin-Soo Choo, another walk, this one to Austin Kearns, and finally an RBI single to Russell Branyan. That was all for Bonser. Then it actually got worse for his replacement, Nelson. Nelson failed to retire any of the first five batters he faced — including Travis Hafner, who launched a grand slam — before inducing a 6-4-3 double play. Nelson finished his outing giving up four runs on five hits and three walks over the one inning.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

- There were no significant injuries.

- They were able to rest Daniel Bard. As an aside, regular closer Jonathan Papelbon won’t be rejoining the team until it returns to Boston Friday. Papelbon is on bereavement leave, which allows the team a replacement for a minimum of three days and a maximum of seven.

Beckett slated to throw Saturday; Lat the problem 06.09.10 at 6:53 pm ET
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CLEVELAND — Speaking before the Red Sox ‘ Wednesday night game against the Indians at Progressive Field, Josh Beckett explained that it is his right latissimus muscle that has been the problem, and was the deciding factor when the team decided to shut down the pitcher’s throwing. Beckett said that if he passes the physical tests, scheduled to administered either Thursday or Friday, he will throw for the first time since the 25-pitch bullpen session he was forced to cut short May 28.

“Whenever I hurt my lat that’s when they said, ‘You know what, see the doctor, let’s do the tests. Let’s do whatever we need to do,’” explained Beckett.

“I wasn’t throwing normal. When you don’t throw normal that’s when muscles aren’t used to being like that. There are certain days I still feel it, but I’m having a really good day today. Today is one of those days where I get in and think, ‘Why can’t I play catch today?’ But I understand the process. I have to do a strength test before I do anything.”

Beckett has been on the 15-day disabled list since May 19, having originally been placed on the DL because of a lower back strain he suffered May 18 at Yankee Stadium after missing a start prior to the start against New York.

“If they want things to slow down, that’s what has to happen,” Beckett explained. “They have a lot invested in us and I’m coming to grips with that. I’m OK with that. Everybody has to answer to somebody. It’s tough when you have your competitive spirit. I don’t blame anybody for this. My back wasn’t 100 percent, everybody knew that. There wasn’t one pitch that was thrown in that game where it wasn’t raining and it’s unfortunate my foot slipped, hurt my back again. I throw on a side, can’t really repeat my delivery because my back is still a little bit there and I’m trying to get through it. Obviously, that’s when John Farrell said, ‘Wait a minute, what are we doing?’ Then I throw a few more, my lat starts hurting. We’re just trying to protect this thing. It could have been a lot more. We didn’t want to get it to the point where it was something we regretted.

“It’s nobody fault. It’s the way things happen. You want to be out there doing what you do. When you don’t do that some days it’s tough. You don’t feel like part of the team. There’s only so many times where you can hear, ‘Hey, how you doing? Hey, how you doing?’ There are other guys in here right now who understand. There are years in my career where everybody had something. This is a test. We’re being tested. And as far as I can see we’re doing pretty [expletive] good.”

Pregame notes: Daisuke suffers ‘intestinal turmoil’ 06.09.10 at 4:38 pm ET
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CLEVELAND — Daisuke Matsuzaka was forced to abandon his scheduled side session due to what Red Sox manager Terry Francona classified as ‘intestinal turmoil.’ The pitcher threw up after executing long toss, not getting a chance to begin his work in the bullpen. Matsuzaka was sent back to the team hotel with the hope that he will be able to throw a lighter side session Thursday.

“He got sick,” Francona said. “I don’t know how you say that in Japanese, but he puked.”

In other Red Sox news:

- News about how Jacoby Ellsbury came through his examination in Los Angeles with Dr. Lewis Yocum won’t be available until just prior to game-time, according Francona. Ellsbury was to have his injured ribs examined by Yocum.

- The Red Sox don’t expect to see Jonathan Papelbon again until the team returns to Boston Friday. Papelbon is on bereavement leave, which can be minimum of three days and maximum of seven days.

- Francona touched on the lack of playing time by Mike Lowell, who has gotten two starts in the last 18 games.

“We’ve got a third baseman who is hitting everything in sight. A first baseman who might be one of the best hitters in the game. And our DH had a month that is unparalleled, so I guess the answer is yes,” said Francona when asked about it was difficult to find Lowell playing time. “The object is to win and sometimes it’s hard. Mikey hasn’t played a lot lately, I certainly understand that but we’ve played good baseball. That has to be our first objective. I think he understands that. I don’t think he likes the idea of his playing time, which I completely understand, but the object is to win.”

The Red Sox manager admitted that earlier in the season he was going out of his way to find Lowell playing time, but saw that the inconsistency in playing time to others was affecting the team’s overall effectiveness.

“I’m sure it is (tough). I completely understand that,” Francona said. “I think earlier in the season there were times where I was trying to make things reach and I think they weren’t reaching and it probably got in the way sometimes of guys swinging the bat better. You try and keep everybody productive and you end up hurting everybody’s production, with the day’s off ‘€¦ We tell the guys, sometimes it’s not fair. But you have to do what you think is right.”

- Francona said that Mike Cameron was getting the day off to not only continue his slow progression back into the Sox lineup, but also due to Cleveland starter Justin Masterson’s trouble with left-handed hitters. The outfield consists of all lefty hitters Wednesday night, with Jeremy Hermida in left, Josh Reddick in center, and J.D. Drew in right.

Beckett knows where Strasburg is coming from 06.09.10 at 12:12 pm ET
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CLEVELAND — Josh Beckett will be the first to admit that his initial foray into the major leagues wasn’t close to that of Stephen Strasburg. (But then, again, has there ever been anybody who has ridden that wave? Click here to see what we’re talking about.)

There were some similarities, however.

Beckett was 21 years-old when he first took a mound in a big league game, coming two years after being selected with the second overall pick the 1999 draft. Like Strasburg is to the Nationals, Beckett was to the Marlins — the symbol of optimism for the future.

“I can definitely feel for him,” said Beckett after the Red Sox‘ 3-2 win over the Indians Tuesday night. “I think like somebody said, if he didn’t have different feelings (Tuesday night) than he wouldn’t be human. He would have probably had to feel a little bit different. I know I did.”

The reality is that other than the hype surrounding their potential, the scenes surrounding the debuts of Strasburg and Beckett were dramatically different.

While Strasburg pitched in front of a sell-out crowd, with national television coverage, and live bloggers and social media types drooling at his every move, Beckett’s first outing came in a meaningless September 4 Florida Marlins game against the Cubs with 13,401 fans in the stands at Pro Player Stadium.

At game’s end the buzz was still circling around Strasburg, who came through with a 14-strikeout performance in which he fanned his last seven batters. And why Beckett might not have turned in that kind of line, but it wasn’t far off. The righty allowed just a single hit over six innings, striking out five and walking three, needing just 85 pitches.

“It was defintely different than that,” Beckett said. “There’s a lot of pressure on him. But I think the Washington Nationals did some really good things. Not to take anything away from the organizations he’s pitching against, but his first two starts are going to be against organizations who are in the middle of rebuilding. That’s not taking away from the talent of those guys. Those guys are talented baseball players, but some of them are having to learn on the fly. The Nationals are doing a really good thing in bringing up in this situation.”

Closing Time: Red Sox 3, Indians 2 06.08.10 at 10:04 pm ET
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Tim Wakefield rebounded from two straight subpar outings by hurling a gem against the Indians, leading the Red Sox to a 3-2 win, at Progressive Field in Cleveland. Wakefield allowed just two runs on four hits over 7 1/3 innings, striking out six and not walking a batter. (The knuckleballer has now gone 13 1/3 innings without issuing a free pass.)

(For a complete recap click here)

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

- The Red Sox bullpen came through in a big way. After a Travis Hafner double drove Wakefield from the game with one out in the eighth, Hideki Okajima came on to induce a Trevor Crowe ground out. After walking Shin-Soo Choo after going to a full count, putting the potential go-ahead runner at first, Ramon Ramirez entered and induced an inning-ending line-out to right field off the bat of Austin Kearns to end the threat and preserve Wakefield’€™s decision. Daniel Bard closed it out, earning the save with a one-hit ninth.

- As if it wasn’€™t enough that Wakefield pitched one of his best games of the season, but he set a record in the process. After retiring Russell Branyan on a pop up to shortstop Marco Scutaro in the seventh inning, Wakefield passed Roger Clemens for the all-time Red Sox leader for most innings pitched with 2,776 1/3.

- David Ortiz found some optimism in the month of June, earning his third hit of June while snapping his 0-for-17 drought. The single, which was hit sharply to right field, plated Kevin Youkilis with the Sox’€™ second run.

- Kevin Youkilis had quite a night, going 3-for-4 to raise his average to .324. Youkilis is now hitting .454 for the month (15-for-33). And to cap off his evening, the first baseman notched his second steal of the season (he had seven last year). The Red Sox as a team are now just one steal away from having the fewest swipes in the majors(18), narrowly trailing the Orioles. The Sox also now have steals in four straight games for the first time this season.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

- Adrian Beltre‘€™s defense has taken a slight turn for the worse. After not making an error for 22 straight games, the Red Sox third baseman has now made three in a matter of the last four contests. Tuesday night the miscue came on a first-inning, two-out grounder off the bat of Jhonny Peralta, allowing Shin-Soo Choo to score the game’€™s first run.

- Mike Cameron did make a nice running catch on the warning track in the sixth inning on a drive by Trevor Crowe (who opened the door for a three-run fourth inning by the Red Sox after dropping Victor Martinez‘€™ fly ball). But Cameron did run into some trouble in the first when he dove and missed a sinking liner by Choo, allowing the ball to get behind him and putting the Cleveland outfielder on third.

So this is why they traded Engel Beltre 06.04.10 at 1:40 pm ET
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Remember Engel Beltre? He was one of three players (David Murphy and Kason Gabbard being the others) that the Red Sox traded to Texas for Eric Gagne in 2007. Well, Beltre hit a walk-off home run, and then made some news …

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