Red Sox reportedly nearing four-year contract extension with Josh Beckett

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ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports that long-term contract talks between Josh Beckett and the Red Sox “have progressed to the point that there is optimism a deal will be completed in the next week or two.”
According to Olney the Red Sox have offered Beckett a four-year deal worth “in the range of $65 million to $70 million.” This offseason Boston signed John Lackey–who’s about 18 months older than Beckett–to a five-year, $82.5 million deal, so a four-year extension for Beckett would lock them both up through the 2014 season.
Over the weekend ESPNBoston.com’s Gordon Edes reported that the Red Sox were unwilling to guarantee Beckett a fifth year, but if Olney’s subsequent report is on the mark that apparently isn’t a deal-breaker for the 29-year-old right-hander.
Beckett is in the final season of a three-year, $30 million deal after going 17-6 with a 3.86 ERA and 199/55 K/BB ratio in 212.1 innings spread over 32 starts in 2009. During four years in Boston he’s 65-34 with a 4.05 ERA in 122 regular-season starts and 5-1 with a 3.88 ERA in the playoffs.

Braves shutting down Mike Soroka for 4-5 days due to shoulder problems

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Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that Braves starter Mike Soroka will be shut down for the next 4-5 days due to renewed soreness in his right shoulder.

Soroka is not presently listed in the top five of the Braves depth chart at starter, but is nonetheless an enormously talented pitcher who, at some point this season, was likely to figure into their plans. He was supposed to figure in more largely than he did last season, but after an impressive debut he missed the entire second half with shoulder problems, making only five starts.

There will no doubt be a reevaluation of him in the next few days, but this is could bad news for the Braves’ pitching depth.