Red Sox notebook

Beckett OK for bullpen work

Today he’ll throw simulated innings

By Michael Vega
Globe Staff / March 4, 2011

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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Showing no symptoms of the mild concussion he suffered Monday when hit in the head with a stray baseball, Josh Beckett was cleared to resume normal activity yesterday and is expected to throw a simulated three-inning game in the bullpen today.

“That’ll keep him going through his next start,’’ said Red Sox manager Terry Francona, who originally had Beckett penciled in for yesterday’s game against the Phillies but instead sent Stolmy Pimentel to the mound.

“He’ll stay on his progression and keep his arm strength with the up and down [of the simulated game]. He’s not facing hitters, but it’s the next best thing. It’s under a controlled environment, which I think we’re still comfortable with.’’

Beckett was hurt while standing in left field shagging flies during batting practice. Staff assistant Ino Guerrero, who was hitting balls with a fungo bat back to a shag bucket near second base, hit one off the left side of the pitcher’s head.

Yesterday, when the team emerged from the dugout to warm up before BP, Beckett had some fun at Guerrero’s expense.

Beckett wore a white T-shirt that read, “You Can’t Hit Me,’’ and presented Guerrero with a crossing guard’s orange vest, accentuated by day-glo yellow stripes and a day-glo yellow cap, which Guerrero wore as he hit fungos.

Jenks gets in After throwing four bullpens and two simulated games, Bobby Jenks made his first appearance of the spring against the Phillies.

“We wound up pacing him a little bit, and I think he wanted to get into a game a little earlier,’’ Francona said. “But we kind of explained to him that, hey, it’s a long spring, especially for veterans, so let’s just get yourself going in the right direction.

“His last outing on the back field, the ball was moving. The fastball, changeup, he threw all his pitches, so he was ready.’’

Jenks entered in the fifth inning in relief of Andrew Miller and threw an inning of scoreless relief, allowing one hit, a leadoff double by Shane Victorino.

“It was a changeup,’’ Jenks said. “But it should have been a change-down.’’

“I felt really good,’’ he added. “Mechanically, I was very sound today. Locating pitches was obviously the biggest thing today and it felt really good.

“The cutter was out front, the changeup was out front, the two-seamer was good today. I think I got only one bad count — 3 and 0 on the last hitter.’’

Relief over pitcher When the Phillies pulled off an offseason shocker by acquiring Cliff Lee, who spurned more lucrative offers from the Yankees and Rangers, Francona’s reaction was predictable.

“I was glad,’’ Francona said. “Everybody kind of thought it was a foregone conclusion that he was probably going to the Yankees. And if he wasn’t going to the Yankees, he was probably going to Texas.

“They’re both in our league and one’s in our division, so I was really glad.

“Facing him once in interleague is a lot better than facing him four or five times. I can’t say that I lost sleep over it. But I am a baseball fan and I am interested in guys coming over to our division. It seemed like the general thought was that’s what was going to happen.’’

Lee joins an impressive Phillies rotation that includes Roy Oswalt, Roy Halladay, and Cole Hamels, who was credited with yesterday’s victory after throwing four scoreless innings.

Asked which was the better rotation — this one or the one he had as Phillies manager (1997-2000), Francona replied with a laugh, “I’d go with the one they have now. When you have to send your No. 2 starter down, then you have to go get him, that’s not a good rotation. We sent Calvin Maduro down on one of the first cuts and he ended up starting Game 2.’’

Reyes on deck Dennys Reyes faced hitters yesterday on the back field for the second time this spring. The lefty will make his debut tomorrow in a split-squad game against the Orioles in Sarasota, joined by Alfredo Aceves, Scott Atchison, Jason Rice, and Matt Fox . . . Clay Buchholz will make his second appearance of the spring tonight against the Yankees in Tampa, where he will be opposed by Bartolo Colon. Brandon Duckworth, Randy Williams, Matt Albers, and Tony Pena Jr. also are scheduled to pitch against the Yankees . . . After submitting an impressive 1-2-3 inning (with two strikeouts) in Monday’s win over the Twins, Miller continued to impress, tacking on another scoreless inning of relief . . . Francona and Dustin Pedroia will join club executives today at 10 a.m. for a ground-breaking ceremony on the construction of the new Red Sox Spring Training Ballpark and Player Development Complex.

Michael Vega can be reached at

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