Josh Beckett has injured thumb

Updated: April 2, 2012, 8:49 PM ET
By Rick Weber | Special to ESPNBoston.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said he "totally" expects No. 2 starter Josh Beckett to make his scheduled start Saturday in Detroit, despite a right thumb injury he will be examined for in San Antonio.

"He's had a little situation that he's taking care of today -- just for peace of mind," Valentine said.

Beckett
Beckett

After a 4-2 win over the Nationals, Valentine said he had not heard from Beckett, who was going to contact Valentine if he needed to. He said he believed Beckett had already seen a doctor.

Meanwhile, closer Andrew Bailey, who has a thumb issue of his own, will be in Cleveland on Tuesday to see Dr. Thomas Graham, who is a hand specialist and surgeon, after being looked at in Boston on Monday. General manager Ben Cherington confirmed Bailey will be getting a second opinion, but declined further comment until after the test.

Valentine said Monday that Bailey needs to see another doctor "just to be sure" without elaborating. The Boston Globe reports that, according to sources, Bailey's examination in Boston was not good and that he may require surgery.

Valentine said he's not sure how to assess the Bailey situation.

"When a player is injured, I'm always very concerned," he said. "I always try to make alternative plans. If he jumps right back in, I'm pleasantly surprised. When guys are hurt, they're hurt. He couldn't pitch for a couple of days, so I'm not sure how long."

Valentine said Beckett threw 100 pitches Sunday in a controlled bullpen session and "felt great." It remains unclear how Beckett injured his thumb. Valentine said Beckett has "a little history with it," saying it's not a blister but "just a little situation."

"It's been a little hard to quite put our thumb on it," Valentine quipped. "What was really good about the last couple of times he's thrown is that he had good command.

"I feel real good today, from all reports we got after yesterday, and he said he felt really good, and I talked to the trainers and Bob [pitching coach Bob McClure] and his high school coach.

"I feel really good right now. As in all cases, you have to be prepared, and I think we are. We are covered no matter what happens."

Earlier, Alfredo Aceves had said he was told to be prepared to start for Beckett on Saturday and also the home opener on April 13. Aceves had been told Sunday that he had failed in his bid to get one of the final two spots in the rotation, losing out to Felix Doubront and Daniel Bard.

"I'd rather not talk about conversations I have with players, but suffice it to say, you have to always be prepared," Valentine said.

Two pitchers in two days with a thumb injury on their pitching hand?

"Interesting, isn't it?" Valentine said. "No thumb wrestling's allowed. We took that out of the program. The worst thing about it is, the other old adage is they happen in threes. 'Stop it, mom. Don't say it again.' That's what my mom always used to say.

"I'm not waiting [for the third one]. I hope it's mine."

Valentine said this is why baseball teams never stop looking for pitching.

"Never have enough pitching: Whoever said it first, it's been repeated as much as anything in baseball," he said. "As we have sent guys to the minor leagues, we sent them with the understanding that it's a combination staff. This isn't a staff of 12 we're deciding on. It's a staff of 20-something. They're a part of it. Just because they got sent out doesn't mean they're not a part of it. Their progress is followed. There's always needs."

Valentine said Mark Melancon could serve as the closer if Bailey isn't ready, but that he'd be comfortable with a number of different options.

Valentine said he thinks Bailey injured the thumb March 21 in Bradenton in a 6-5 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates and pitched with the injury Wednesday in a minor league game. But no one appears to be sure, including Bailey, who was not available for comment.

"Because we said Andrew was going to pitch in the ninth inning, we also have to have somebody else, because to have a winning streak, you often have to win a lot of games in a row where the closer can't close every game," he said.

Valentine said he will not finalize the composition of the bullpen until after Tuesday's game against Washington at Nationals Park.

Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com contributed information to this report. Rick Weber is a special contributor to ESPNBoston.com.

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