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Beckett scratched

Posted by David Lefort, Boston.com Staff  August 28, 2008 04:46 PM

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Josh Beckett has been scratched from his scheduled start on Friday, and the Red Sox ace plans to have his ailing right elbow examined by Dr. James Andrews.

In a postgame interview, manager Terry Francona said Beckett was seeing Andrews as a precaution. There was no indication the tingling sensation he had previously felt in his pitching hand had returned.

"I think the best word I can use is we're just trying to get some closure," Francona said. "We never want to send anyone out there that's not 100 percent. We're no more pessimistic about him today than we were, but when he goes out there [again] we want him to be able to pitch with peace of mind."

General manager Theo Epstein echoed those precautionary sentiments.

"We don't feel comfortable pitching him unless he is 100 percent because we have to take his long term interests and the team's long term interests into account first and foremost," Epstein said.

Epstein also said it was his understanding that the tingling was not still present in Beckett's pitching hand, but that "the elbow itself doesn't feel 100 percent."

"We're pretty optimistic this thing's getting better," Epstein said. "It just makes sense. Josh has a great relationship with Andrews, he's an accomplished doctor. Get another opinion here, hoping he comes back and can take the ball pretty soon."

Daisuke Matsuzaka will take the mound in Beckett's place on Friday night at Fenway Park against the White Sox. The Providence Journal reported that David Pauley would take Dice-K's spot on Saturday.

Beckett had been given the thumbs up to pitch Friday after his side session on Tuesday, but now will be pushed back for the second time in a week. He hasn't pitched since an Aug. 17 start against Toronto in which he gave up 8 runs in 2 1/3 innings.

"I think scary is probably a good word for it," Beckett said earlier this week. "I've had some sleepless nights thinking about all kinds of stuff. You generally think the worst."

Elbow tenderness and an awkward sleeping position may have contributed to the original tingling (which Beckett first reported after the drubbing by the Blue Jays), but no one claims to know the source of the problem.

"We're trying to figure out what's causing it and go from there," Beckett said earlier this week. "Right now it's just day to day and I'm dealing with it. We have a great medical staff. We're trying to be cautious. We're not talking about just the end of a season, but about the end of a career. Some organizations would do anything they could to get a player back out there. I appreciate what they are doing for me here."

Beckett plans to see Andrews on Friday.

The Globe's Amalie Benjamin and Dan Shaughnessy contributed to this report from New York. Material from the Associated Press was also used.

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