Valentine: Josh Beckett day to day

Updated: August 1, 2012, 11:15 PM ET
By Joe McDonald | ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- It doesn't appear Boston Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett will need to be shut down and placed on the disabled list because of back spasms he suffered Tuesday night, but the next few days will determine the final decision.

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said he doesn't know whether Beckett will need to miss his next start and that determination will depend on how he feels after his next bullpen session, either Thursday or Friday, according to the manager.

"I haven't seen Josh, but two of my coaches saw him, (GM) Ben (Cherington) saw him before he got into the trainer's room, and they say he's a little stiff. Not surprisingly because he had spasms, he's a big guy. We don't know how to read that other than it doesn't seem like it'll be a 15-day (DL) stint or anything. It's one of those we'll play it by ear."

This is the third time in Beckett's career he suffered back spasms while pitching on a wet mound. He first did in 2010 at Yankee Stadium and missed two months. He did again in 2011 at Fenway Park, but that time it was less severe.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia said the team is relieved Beckett's situation doesn't seem to be too serious.

"We're glad it's just a minor thing and hopefully he can make his next start and continue to pitch because we need him, we need every single one of our guys who's in the starting rotation," Saltalamacchia said.

"I don't see this lingering too much," Saltalamacchia added. "I see him getting treatment, and I've had back spasms before, but being a starting pitcher is nice because you've got the four days in between to kind of let it rest and be good to go for that fifth day.

"It was nice to see him throwing the way he was and I think he even felt it before the game, so the fact that he was able to pitch that well with that feeling is a good sign."

Beckett was cruising through his start on Tuesday, retiring the first eight batters he faced before allowing a two-out single the Detroit Tigers' Omar Infante in the top of the third inning. After that he hit Austin Jackson with a pitch, then issued back-to-back walks to Quintin Berry and Miguel Cabrera. That's when Beckett signaled to the dugout for a trainer.

When Beckett exited the game, he heard plenty of boos from the fans.

"Fans pay their money to be part of our experience and if someone is displeased … they're paying the right to be displeased and to express whatever they want to express," Valentine said. "I think when a guy gets hurt and comes off the field, I'm not sure that's a time to boo someone."

If Beckett is not available to make his next start or need to go on the DL, it appears Franklin Morales will be slotted into that spot. The left-hander has served as both a reliever and a starter this season and is stretched out enough to return to the rotation if needed.

Valentine said Wednesday afternoon that Morales is not available to pitch against Detroit. He threw 12 pitches in Tuesday's rain-shortened game.

"We're going to err on the side of caution with him," Valentine said. "There's not a formal plan for him to make a start, but he's definitely in the wings. He's been up a lot of times in the bullpen and he's thrown a couple of times in the games the last five days, so today would be an off day anyway, and that will give us a little more time tomorrow to evaluate the situation. He would be our first choice if we needed a starter."

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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