Josh Beckett bounces back as Red Sox crush Rays 12-2

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Josh Beckett struck out just one batter Friday, but he went eight innings and limited the Rays to one run as part of a 12-2 Red Sox victory in the home opener at Fenway Park.

Beckett, at 94 pitches, appeared set to go for the complete game before the Red Sox scored eight times off Joel Peralta and Josh Lueke in a long bottom of the eighth inning. That caused manager Bobby Valentine to reverse course and bring in Mark Melancon for the ninth.

Beckett wasn’t blowing the Rays away today, but he got some swings and misses early on and he was able to make quick work of what has been a weak bottom half of the order for Tampa Bay. Apart from the red-hot Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria (currently hitting back-to-back in the second and third spots), no one in the Rays lineup entered the day with an average over .250.

Beckett faced questions about his thumb injury all week  after giving up five homers Saturday to the Tigers in his season debut. Those aren’t likely to go away with his velocity still down a bit. However, if he shows fastball command and his good curve (which has always tended to come and go), he can still be effective for the Red Sox while throwing 89-91 mph.

Marlins release Edinson Volquez

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Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports that the Marlins have released starter Edinson Volquez, freeing up a spot on the 40-man roster. Volquez was entering the final year of his two-year, $22 million contract signed in November 2016. He was set to earn $13 million for this coming season.

Volquez, 34, underwent Tommy John surgery in August and is expected to miss most, if not all of the 2018 season. He ended his 2017 campaign with a 4.19 ERA and an 81/53 K/BB ratio in 92 1/3 innings across 17 starts.

Since Volquez won’t come back until very late in the 2018 season at minimum, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him remain teamless until next offseason.