The Red Sox cleared Josh Beckett to start Wednesday after his 25-pitch bullpen session went well Monday, and they announced plans to return Daisuke Matsuzaka to the rotation on Friday.
Beckett, whose normal turn would have fallen tonight, was given extra rest after failing to come out with his best stuff in a no-decision last week against Baltimore. He previously threw 125 pitches on April 21 against the Angels, and it seemed his arm didn’t respond as well as hoped afterwards.
Matsuzaka left his start Friday in the fifth inning because of right elbow tightness, but the Red Sox have decided against putting him on the disabled list or having him skip a start. Like Beckett, he’ll be pitching on six days’ rest this week.
With both veterans in line to start, it doesn’t look like Tim Wakefield will get an opportunity for an encore performance anytime soon. Filling in for an ailing Clay Buchholz on Sunday, he pitched 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball (with the lone run scoring after he left) in his first start of the year. He exited in line for the win, only to end up with a no-decision when Bobby Jenks blew the lead. The Red Sox did end up winning in the bottom of the ninth to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Mariners.
Jared Diamond of The Wall Street Journal reports that Mets second baseman Neil Walker is expected to undergo season-ending surgery to fix a herniated disk in his lower back. Walker has avoided the disabled list but hasn’t played since last Saturday and has only two starts since August 22.
If Walker does indeed go under the knife, he’ll end his first season with the Mets with a terrific .282/.347/.476 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 55 RBI in 458 plate appearances. While the Mets couldn’t have foreseen Daniel Murphy having such a terrific season, Walker was more than adequate in Murphy’s shoes at second base.
Kelly Johnson and Wilmer Flores have handled second base in Walker’s absence and will continue to do so through the remainder of the season.
Rockies 1B/OF Stephen Cardullo celebrated his 29th birthday on Wednesday, so the rookie decided to celebrate by homering in both games of his team’s doubleheader at home against the Dodgers.
In the first game, Cardullo pinch-hit for Chris Rusin in the seventh inning and drilled a solo home run off of Casey Fien. In the second game, Cardullo smacked a grand slam to left-center field off of Bud Norris in the first inning.
Cardullo made his major league debut this past Friday. He was hitless in his first five at-bats before singling as a pinch-hitter on Monday.