Red Sox line up Josh Beckett for Wednesday, Dice-K Friday

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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.

Mariners get 2B Kolten Wong from Brewers for Winker, Toro

Kolten Wong
USA Today
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SEATTLE – The Seattle Mariners acquired second baseman Kolten Wong from the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday in a trade for outfielder Jesse Winker and infielder Abraham Toro.

Seattle also receives cash as part of the deal. ESPN reported the Brewers would be sending the Mariners about $1.75 million.

Milwaukee has been shedding payroll this offseason after going 86-76 and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2017. The Brewers picked up the $10 million team option on Wong’s contract for 2023 last month, then traded him away.

Wong, 32, batted .251 this season and had a career-best 15 homers to go with 47 RBIs and 17 steals in 134 games. He had a .339 on-base percentage and .430 slugging percentage.

But the two-time Gold Glove winner had an uncharacteristically tough season in the field with 17 errors to match his career high.

After ending a 21-year playoff drought, adding a second baseman had been one of the Mariners’ chief offseason objectives. Wong was Milwaukee’s starting second baseman for the last two years after spending his first eight seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Winker gives the Brewers a power-hitting outfielder to help replace Hunter Renfroe, traded to the Los Angeles Angels last week.

The 29-year-old Winker hit .219 with 14 homers and 53 RBIs in 136 games for Seattle in 2022 after playing five seasons in the NL Central with the Cincinnati Reds. He batted .305 with a .394 on-base percentage, .556 slugging percentage, 24 homers and 71 RBIs in 110 games with Cincinnati in 2021, when he was a National League All-Star.

Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto said after the season Winker had surgery on his left knee and was expected to undergo another operation to repair an issue with his neck.

Toro, who turns 26 on Dec. 20, hit .185 with a .239 on-base percentage, 10 homers and 35 RBIs in 109 games this past season.