Red Sox notebook

Beckett slated to face Rays

Bullpen session determining factor

Although Josh Beckett took part in the All-Star festivities, he was kept out of Tuesday’s game because of knee concerns. Although Josh Beckett took part in the All-Star festivities, he was kept out of Tuesday’s game because of knee concerns. (File/Jeff Haynes/Reuters)
By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / July 15, 2011

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Josh Beckett, who did not pitch in Tuesday’s All-Star Game because of a sore left knee, remains scheduled to face the Rays on Sunday night.

Beckett will throw a bullpen session today, after which a final determination will be made. But the Red Sox believe the righthander is fine.

“Josh is pretty confident he’ll pitch Sunday,’’ manager Terry Francona said. “If for some reason he can’t, we’ll back him up a couple of days. I have a feeling that’s going to be the worst-case scenario.’’

As a precaution, rookie righthander Kyle Weiland threw a bullpen session last night during the team’s workout at Tropicana Field.

“We could slot him in. I don’t think that’s going to happen,’’ Francona said. “I don’t think it’s going to be much of an issue.’’

Beckett (8-3, 2.27) hyperextended his knee last Friday against the Orioles. He was cleared to pitch in the All-Star Game, but felt some discomfort while warming up.

Francona was not paying rapt attention to the game until he noticed that Beckett was not pitching the second inning, as scheduled. He immediately placed a call to Beckett to find out what happened.

“He’s such a creature of habit, which so many pitchers are. He’s pitching in the second inning and he was kind of out of sorts a little bit and felt it,’’ Francona said.

“He promised he was not going to do something to set him back.

“I kind of respect the idea that he wanted to go to the All-Star Game, wanted to participate, and at the same time he was mature enough not to do something that would set him back.’’

On assignment Carl Crawford, out since June 18 with a strained left hamstring, worked out at Fenway Park yesterday and will start a two-day rehabilitation assignment with Triple A Pawtucket tonight.

The PawSox are home against Durham this weekend.

Crawford will take Sunday off and join the big club in Baltimore on Monday. He was given the option of being the designated hitter for one of the minor league games, but asked to play left field both nights.

“I just told him as far as playing-wise, just get comfortable,’’ Francona said. “There’s no reason he has to run out and play nine [innings]. It’s completely up to him.’’

Putting their work in For the first time since he strained the lat muscle on his left side July 5, Jon Lester threw a baseball yesterday. His workout at Fenway consisted of throwing in the outfield from 60 feet.

“All went really well,’’ Francona said. “As long as it doesn’t hurt, I think it will come quick.’’

The Sox figure to be cautious with Lester. But earlier this week, the lefthander expressed confidence in being ready to go on or around July 22.

Clay Buchholz, out with a bad back, also is ready to start a throwing program. Buchholz has not pitched since June 16 and will need more time to get ready, a process that will include a rehab assignment.

Shortstop Jed Lowrie has not been cleared to start swinging a bat. He has been out since June 16 because of a sore left shoulder.

Too soon to tell With the American League losing the All-Star Game, the Sox can not have home-field advantage in the World Series. Francona is not too concerned.

“It’s July,’’ he said. “I hope that someday it does [matter].’’

High pick signed The Sox signed Williams Jerez, their second-round pick in the June draft. The outfielder from Brooklyn, N.Y., who was born in the Dominican Republic, was assigned to the Gulf Coast League. Jerez hit .692 with 5 homers, 32 RBIs, and 26 stolen bases for Grand Street Campus High . . . Francona took the hard-working clubhouse staff to Mohegan Sun on Sunday night . . . The Sox play 13 of their remaining 75 games against the Rays . . . The players who participated in the All-Star Game were excused from last night’s workout, but Jacoby Ellsbury showed up anyway.

Peter Abraham can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.

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