Friday, May 18, 2007

Beckett Heading to DL, Alas Lester will not replace him.

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BOSTON -- The Red Sox mulled it over with Josh Beckett for a few days, then took definitive action. On Friday the Red Sox will place the right-hander on the disabled list -- retroactive to May 13 -- with an avulsion on his right middle finger.

The good news is that the Sox have already slotted Beckett to start on May 29 against the Indians, the first day he's eligible to come off the DL.

Devern Hansack will be recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket and take Beckett's turn in the rotation on Friday night against the Braves. The Sox are still undecided for Sunday, but Pawtucket left-hander Kason Gabbard is looking like a heavy favorite to make that start. Gabbard last pitched on Monday and isn't listed anywhere in Pawtucket's rotation in games through Tuesday.

Hansack was supposed to pitch for Pawtucket on Thursday, and once he was scratched, it was evident that he was coming to Boston and Beckett was headed for the DL. Because Hansack was just sent to Pawtucket on May 11, the only way he could rejoin the Boston roster this quickly is if another player went on the DL.

Beckett will proceed as planned and throw a side session on Friday.

"Nothing went backwards at all," said manager Terry Francona. "In fact, he's doing great."

The decision was not made unilaterally. All parties played a role.

"We included [Beckett] in this decision a lot," said Francona. "Thought he deserved it. We actually appreciated his input, because he was very thoughtful and conscientious in what he was saying to us. We talked to him for a long time about it because we wanted to do the right thing."

This is the seventh time in Beckett's career he's been placed on the disabled list with either a blister or an avulsion. The previous six times came in a four-year span (2002-06) with the Florida Marlins.

But why are the Sox undecided about Sunday, when it would be Tim Wakefield's turn in the rotation? The answer is that the Sox thought it made more sense to hold Wakefield out for Monday's opener of a three-game series in the Bronx against the Yankees. If Wakefield had pitched on Sunday, the Sox would have been searching for a starter for Monday.

And for all the conspiracy theorists out there, Jon Lester will not make a dramatic return and be Sunday's surprise starter. Francona reiterated the plan that Lester will start for Pawtucket at Ottawa on Saturday night, throwing 50 to 55 pitches.

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