PHOENIX -- Speaking during the All-Star Game, Josh Beckett explained that the decision not to pitch as planned in the second inning was precautionary after the Red Sox starter felt stiffness in his left knee toward the end of his warm-ups.
Beckett said that he didn't believe he had re-injured the knee, which was originally hyperextended during his most recent start, and that it shouldn't prevent him from making his next scheduled start against the Rays on Sunday in St. Petersburg, Fla.
"I don't think so," Beckett said when asked if the injury could lead to a missed start. "I could have pitched. I'm not comfortable going out there and getting hurt in the All-Star Game and costing myself starts in the second half. I think that's how everybody should be. This game does mean a lot with the home-field advantage and everything but at the same time there are some important things that are ahead."
Beckett said he felt the knee getting progressively more stiff as his warm-up tosses progressed, having already experienced some discomfort from the cross-country flight.
"I was almost done with my warm-ups. I think I had about 10 pitches left," he said. "A lot of it is you don't get to go through the same routine. You're rushing around, you're doing this, you're doing that. It's in the back of your head when you feel it. You're like, 'If something happens here I'm going to make a lot people out here look not good, including myself.'
"I think I would have pitched through it [in a regular-season game]. It wasn't one pitch, it just kind of progressively got a little bit stiffer. I don't know what to say. It sucks to be warming up in an All-Star Game and have that happen. I was in a good situation, I was pitching early in the game, I was going to be able to hang out with the guys for the last few innings. It's tough, but I think I did the right thing here."
Another factor helping make the decision was the promise Beckett made to Red Sox manager Terry Francona before leaving for the All-Star Game.
"I was just warming up and it didn't feel 100 percent. I told Tito when I left [that] if I feel [it] at all when I'm out here I'll speak up, and it just wasn't something I was comfortable going out there and messing with. I don't think I re-injured it, but I've definitely still got some inflammation in there," said Beckett, who determined that he could pitch in the All-Star Game after executing a side session at Fenway Park Sunday.
"When I first got here, I don't know if it was because it was a long flight, it was little bit stiff. I got on the bike a little bit, went outside, jogged around a little bit, got a little bit better. Just something I wasn't going to mess with. ... That was one thing [American League manager Ron Washington] emphasized, 'I want to give you guys just like you came here.' I'm sure he understands."
For more Red Sox news, go to the team page at weei.com/redsox.
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