In other Sox developments, Josh Beckett, beyond frustrated with the ups and downs of his nonstructural but “muscular” back strain, will not come off the 15-day DL tomorrow, as was once targeted. The Sox will take a strict and slow approach to his return to action, not even allowing him to throw a baseball unless he’s 100%.
Finally, Jonathan Van Every is headed to the Pirates again for 22-year-old minor league (Single-A) catcher Josue Peley. Van Every, acquired by Boston April 24, was DFAed May 22 when Ellsbury came back (briefly). He batted .211 but played solid defense in CF. Peley’s strength is in throwing out base runners, throwing out 47 of 111 in his last two years, while batting .202 in the Pirates system.
The Sox, who are a season-high six games over .500 (29-23), start the week Tuesday night now just 5 games back of the Rays and 2.5 back of the Yankees in the AL Wild Card race. They face a surprisingly good and first-place (in the AL West) Oakland A’s squad for three games, with two lefties going for the road team, along with new ace Ben Sheets.
And then Boston has three with the AL East cellar dwellers in Baltimore. But first, look for Lackey, Dice-K and Wakefield to improve upon their recent outings against a light-hitting but good pitching A’s team, and for a struggling Dustin Pedroia, who is 0 for his last 13 at bats and nine for his last 63 overall to start breaking out of his big slump vs. the A’s and really hammer Orioles pitching.
Lackey gets the start tonight vs. upstart lefty Gio Gonzalez to begin the week. If he and Sox pitching overall continues to improve going forward, it should ultimately be a successful week once again for Boston.