Josh Beckett cleared to return from concussion, but won’t pitch until next week

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Josh Beckett passed a series of brain function tests this morning after displaying “mild concussion symptoms” when struck on the head by an errant ball during batting practice Monday and has been cleared to resume light activities, but Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports that the Red Sox have scratched him from tomorrow’s scheduled start.

Terry Francona explained that Beckett “will do some biking and some light throwing and see how he progresses from there” before the Red Sox line up his next outing.

And in a sign that the Red Sox aren’t fretting too much about Beckett’s status, Francona joked with reporters that the brain function tests were “hard for him because he’s illiterate … even on a good day, it’s probably not real good.” Given the latest news about Justin Morneau’s now eight-month recovery from a concussion suffered in July, the Red Sox and Beckett should feel very fortunate.

Who is the fastest sprinter in baseball?

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We’re not talking the 100 meters here. We’re talking practical baseball sprinting. That’s defined by the StatCast folks at MLB as “feet per second in a player’s fastest one-second window,” while sprinting for the purposes of, you know, winning a baseball game.

StatCast ranked all players who have at least 10 “max effort” runs this year. I won’t give away who is at the top of this list, but given that baseball’s speedsters tend to get a lot of press you will not be at all surprised. As for the bottom of the list, well, the Angels don’t pay Albert Pujols to run even when he’s not suffering from late career chronic foot problems, so they’ll probably let that one go. I will say, however, that I am amused that the third slowest dude in baseball is named “Jett,” however.

Lately people have noticed some odd things about home run distances on StatCast, suggesting that maybe their metrics are wacko. And, of course, their means of gauging this stuff is proprietary and opaque, so we have no way of knowing if their numbers are off the reservation or not. As such, take all of the StatCast stuff you see with a grain of salt.

That said, even if the feet-per-second stuff is wrong here, knowing that Smith is faster than Jones by a factor of X is still interesting.

Here are the final All-Star voting results before the close of balloting

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All-Star voting ends this Thursday night, just before midnight eastern time. The All-Star teams — at least how they’ll appear before the dozen or two substitutions we’ll get before the game — will be unveiled on Sunday at 7pm on ESPN, just before Sunday Night Baseball.

Which means you still have time to alter these standings, which now stand as the final update before things are set in, well, not stone, but at least some Play-Doh which has been left out of the can too long and is kinda hard to mess with.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

AMERICAN LEAGUE