It might be Kevin Millwood time in Boston

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The early reports are encouraging on Josh Beckett’s hyperextended left knee, but what if Boston is forced to place him on the disabled list alongside Jon Lester (lat), Clay Buchholz (back) and Daisuke Matsuzaka (elbow)?

Such a move could leave the Red Sox with a rotation of John Lackey, Tim Wakefield, Andrew Miller, Kyle Weiland and Kevin Millwood, if only for a week or two.

And what a far cry that would be from a postseason-worthy rotation.

Lackey has a jumbo-jet-like ERA of 7.47.  The 44-year-old Wakefield is at 4.74.  Miller has been pretty impressive since his callup, going 3-0 with a 3.57 ERA.  However, he went 1-5 with an 8.54 ERA for Florida last year.

Weiland will be making his major league debut in Lester’s place Sunday.

Millwood just gave up four runs in five innings for Triple-A Pawtucket tonight. He had a nice run last month in which he allowed a total of five runs in four starts, but he’s now struggled in two of three outings.  Overall, he has a 4.50 ERA in eight starts for Pawtucket.

An alternative to calling on Millwood would be to move Alfredo Aceves from the bullpen to the rotation.  Another would be to bring up left-hander Felix Doubront.  Doubront pitched seven scoreless innings for Pawtucket two days ago and is 1-3 with a 3.38 ERA in 12 starts this season.

Hopefully, it won’t come to any of that.  Beckett might be ready to start in the first series back after the All-Star break.  The hope is that Lester will make it back before the end of the month and that Buchholz could return in early August.  So, the Red Sox still have plenty of time to get their rotation ready for October.  The key will be making it through the next few weeks without doing too much damage to their chances of getting there.

Joey Votto: “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently.”

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We’ve poked fun often at the spring training trope of players showing up to camp in the “best shape of [their] life.” Reds first baseman Joey Votto has turned that entirely on its head. Talking about his offseason, the 2010 NL MVP said, “I tried to get fatter. I succeeded at that apparently. We did all the testing and I am fatter,” Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Votto, of course, wasn’t trying to say he’s not in shape; he was just using some of his trademark self-deprecating humor.

Votto did get serious when discussing the state of the rebuilding Reds. As Buchanan also reported, Votto said, “I think we’re starting to get to the point where people are starting to get tired of this stretch of ball. I think something needs to start changing and start going in a different direction. I’m going to do my part to help make that change.”

Votto, 34, is under contract with the Reds through at least 2023, so he still has plenty of incentive to help see the rebuild through. He has been nothing short of stellar over the last three seasons. This past season, he hit .320/.454/.578 with 36 home runs, 100 RBI, and 106 runs scored in 707 appearances across all 162 games. Votto led the majors in walks (134) and on-base percentage and led the National League in OPS (1.032).

Despite Votto’s presence, both FanGraphs and PECOTA are projecting the Reds to put up a 74-88 record. The club had a pretty quiet offseason, expecting to enter 2018 with largely the same roster as last year.