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Wed, 08/31/2011 - 5:26pm  

Francona: Won't 'hurry Beckett' in games

Red Sox manager Terry Francona said he isn't about to tell Wednesday's starting pitcher Josh Beckett to do something that will make him feel uncomfortable. Beckett was criticized by former Mets manager Bobby Valentine on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball during his start on Aug. 7 for taking as much as 45 seconds between pitches to deliver the baseball.  

"That's not going to make me lose sleep," Francona said of Valentine's critique. 

Francona acknowledged that major league baseball will occasionally inform teams when they believe pitchers are being too deliberate and slowing the pace of the game.

"They could," Francona said. "From our standpoint, we always want our pitchers to work quick, just because your defense is going to be better and the game flows better. But if I have my choice of him pitching slow and winning and getting a letter from the [MLB], that's what I'd go with rather than him hurry and get knocked around." 

On  Tuesday night, the Yankees beat the Red Sox, 5-2, in a regulation nine-inning game that took three hours, 59 minutes to complete. On Aug. 7, Beckett labored through 101 pitches over six innings, in a 3-2 game won by the Red Sox in 10 innings. That game took four hours, 15 minutes, with no delays. 

"I understand the point," Francona said. "That just happened. It was a tough night for him He kind of slugged his way through it but he's generally pretty good."

For more, visit the Red Sox team page at and the Full Count blog. 

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