Red Sox right-hander Alfredo Aceves told reporters in Fort Myers that, one day after the announcement that he would open the year in the bullpen, he was told by Sox manager Bobby Valentine that he might be necessary as a rotation fill-in for Josh Beckett to start the season. The reason, according to Aceves, was that the scheduled second starter in the Sox rotation is dealing with a thumb injury. Aceves said that he was told to be ready, if Beckett is not available, for the possibility of filling in for the right-hander's first two starts of the season, which would come in the second game of the season (April 7) and then in the Sox' home opener on April 13.
Beckett, a team official told reporters, will travel to San Antonio to have his thumb examined before joining the Sox in Detroit for the season-opening series against the Tigers. The right-hander had sailed through his spring schedule, with a 0.95 ERA in five Grapefruit League starts and a .117 batting average against, along with 10 strikeouts and eight walks, in 19 innings.
Beckett represents the second Sox pitcher in as many days to face the possibility of limited availability due to a thumb injury to open the year. He joins closer Andrew Bailey in having been afflcted by an issue with the appendage.
Beckett last pitched in a Grapefruit League game on March 27, so if the Sox elected to put him on the disabled list to open the year, they would be able to backdate his stint to March 28, with the possibility of activation as early as the April 13 home opener.
However, that contingency scenario appears unlikely, after Valentine told reporters in Fort Myers that he "totally" expects Beckett to make his scheduled starts. For more of Valentine's comments on Beckett, click here.
For complete Red Sox coverage, visit weei.com/redsox.
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