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BOSTON -- Boston Red Sox starter Josh Beckett spoke for the first time in several weeks Tuesday at Fenway Park, addressing his right shoulder woes and the reported turmoil in the team's clubhouse.
Beckett does not consider either to be serious.
The 32-year-old right-hander said he is on track to return from the disabled list when he is eligible just before the All-Star break. He had an MRI on Monday that showed no damage to his inflamed right shoulder.
He said that despite some pain, which he has dealt with before, he wanted to make two more starts before taking one off prior to the All-Star break. He felt that plan would have him fresh after the break, but Red Sox management did not want to take any chances and put him on the disabled list instead.
"I was overruled on that," Beckett said. "It was probably smart."
Manager Bobby Valentine said from the start the team wanted to take "the conservative route" with Beckett's shoulder. After getting in some light exercises Monday, Beckett feels this approach has him on the right path.
Beckett had a 2.68 ERA in his six starts before going on the DL, throwing at least seven innings in each outing. He did not speak with reporters after his past two appearances on June 6 and June 11.
In the time that he has been silent, talk of clubhouse turmoil has increased, reaching a crescendo with a report from ESPN's Buster Olney that the atmosphere around the team was "toxic." Beckett was quick to shoot down the report, calling it a "fabrication."
"I don't know where people get that stuff from," he said. "This is one of the tightest groups I've ever been a part of."
Beckett cited dinners on the road and other bonding moments that have taken place more often in 2012. He called his teammates "one of the best group of guys I've ever been around."