Josh Beckett could miss next start due to back spasms

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Josh Beckett was booed off the mound at Fenway Park on Tuesday night after leaving his start against the Tigers in the third inning with back spasms. Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine expressed optimism yesterday that the veteran right-hander will be able to avoid a stint on the disabled list, but there’s now uncertainty whether he’ll be able to make his next scheduled start Sunday against the Twins.

According to Joe McDonald of ESPN Boston, Beckett was unable to throw a bullpen session this afternoon. Bobby V acknowledged that he “more than likely” won’t start Sunday if he can’t throw tomorrow. Franklin Morales would presumably return from the bullpen to make the start if Beckett is unable to go.

Beckett was charged with one run on one hit and two walks over 2 2/3 innings on Tuesday and holds a disappointing 4.54 ERA through 18 starts this season. The Red Sox reportedly shopped him leading up to Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline, but didn’t find much interest. Given his struggles this year and the $15.75 million he’s owed over each of the next two seasons, that’s exactly not a surprise.

The Cubs will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday

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The Cubs soundly defeated the Cardinals on Monday night, 10-2, sending their magic number down to one. They will try to clinch the NL Central on Tuesday with another win against the Cardinals. Alternatively, if they lose, they can still clinch if the Brewers also lose on Tuesday.

The Cubs, of course, won the Central last year en route to winning their first World Series since 1908. It wasn’t nearly as easy this year as the club was below .500 entering June and was exactly at .500 entering July. A 16-8 July, 17-12 August, and 15-8 September have helped put the Cubs back in position to return to the postseason.

Not to be forgotten, the Cardinals were eliminated from NL Central contention with Monday’s loss. Now they have their sights set on the second NL Wild Card slot and currently trail the Rockies in that race.

The matchups for Tuesday’s action:

Carter Capps to undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome

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Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that Padres pitcher Carter Capps will undergo surgery this offseason to address thoracic outlet syndrome, which doctors believe caused the right-hander’s blood clots. The Padres hope to have him ready by spring training next year.

Capps, 27, underwent Tommy John surgery last year and didn’t debut this season until August 7. He made 11 relief appearances, yielding nine runs on 12 hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 12 1/3 innings. He went back on the DL on September 12 due to the blood clot issue.

The Padres acquired Capps from the Marlins last July in the Andrew Cashner trade which ended up having a lot of moving parts. Capps will enter his third and final year of arbitration eligibility this offseason. It’s quite possible the Padres choose to non-tender him.