Red Sox notebook

Curt answer to a flip response

Beckett irked by Scott’s bat toss

By Michael Vega
Globe Staff / April 28, 2011

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BALTIMORE — Mad at the way Luke Scott admired the arc of his majestic 426-foot home run to Eutaw Street, Red Sox starter Josh Beckett seemed to really flip out when he saw the Orioles left fielder flip his bat as he began his home run trot.

Scott didn’t notice, though. Until, that is, he got back to the Orioles’ dugout after and was apprised by his teammates that Beckett had glared at him all around the bases.

“I didn’t notice anything,’’ Scott said. “I was just kind of enjoying the moment and just, as I usually do, I try to just enjoy this opportunity with the Lord as much as I can.’’

Beckett, meanwhile, was taking the Lord’s name in vain after serving up a solo shot to the next batter, Adam Jones, which gave the Orioles a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning of last night’s 5-4 win over the Sox.

When he got out of the inning by striking out Mark Reynolds, Beckett barked at plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth about Scott’s antics.

Beckett, who hadn’t given up back-to-back homers since last Sept. 24 at Yankee Stadium, seemed to suggest Scott could face retribution when he tersely answered a question about Scott’s bat flip. “Those things have a way of working themselves out,’’ Beckett said.

“When I got in the dugout, the guys said he was yelling or something like that — staring,’’ Scott said. “I have all the respect in the world for Josh Beckett. He’s one of the best pitchers in the game. And I respect everyone who takes the mound against me. He’s a tremendous competitor and emotional. You know, I’m an emotional person as well. So I can understand people getting emotional, getting fired up before a game.’’

Long view at short Marco Scutaro had every expectation that, after taking one for the team and last year and playing injured, he would be the Sox’ everyday shortstop in 2011. But during a 162-game season, things change.

In this instance, what changed is that Jed Lowrie is hitting .390. Lowrie has 3 home runs and 12 RBIs, and entered last night with an on-base percentage of .424 and a .636 slugging percentage.

Those numbers are hard for manager Terry Francona to ignore, and Lowrie was in the starting lineup again, his 12th overall start and ninth at shortstop.

“Coming in, I thought the right thing to do was to play Scutaro,’’ Francona said. “We viewed Jed as a starting player, but not right now. But when you hit .450, I think it’s my responsibility to put him in the lineup at least a lot of the time.

“I don’t think Scoot likes it very much. He’s done everything we’ve ever asked, but I have a responsibility to do what I think is right.’’

“If you can hit, they’ll find a spot for you in the lineup,’’ said Lowrie, who also started at shortstop Tuesday night. “When you’re hitting well, you’re going to play. That’s just the way the game goes.’’

Scutaro, who is hitting .204 after flying out as a pinch hitter in the ninth, has made just four starts at shortstop in the last 11 games.

“Hitting is hard, even when you’re playing every day,’’ said Scutaro. “It’s hard to keep your timing. Hitting is like riding an elevator; you’re up and you’re down. It’s a long year and you’ve got to keep battling and keep working.’’

Francona has had to consider making Scutaro more of a utility infielder.

“That’s what I’ve got to figure out, because Jed moves around and he was the obvious guy to move around,’’ Francona said.

Scutaro understands the situation, although that doesn’t mean he has to like it.

“He’s swinging the bat good right now,’’ Scutaro said of Lowrie. “It’s all about winning here and [Francona] is going to put the best guys out there.

“There’s no difference in what I’m doing every day. I work hard and go to the cage and take my ground balls and just work hard to be ready for anything.

“I don’t know what the lineups are going to be. He’s the boss.’’

Bang, bang When Jacoby Ellsbury hit a leadoff single in the eighth, it marked his season-high third hit of the game. The last time Ellsbury had three hits in a game was April 10, 2010, at Kansas City . . . Former Orioles catcher Rick Dempsey made a spot start for ailing NESN analyst Jerry Remy. Remy tweeted to his followers: “Have a bad cold-had it last night too but tonight I could not answer the bell-hopefully by time we return to Boston it will be gone-Jerry.’’ . . . David Ortiz entered last night’s game hitting .360 against lefthanded pitchers. “The one thing he’s been able to do is swing at strikes,’’ said Francona. “He’s not chasing balls out of the zone.’’

Michael Vega can be reached at

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