Valentine downplays Beckett golf outing
BOSTON (AP) Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine on Thursday downplayed the uproar over pitcher Josh Beckett's golf outing after he was taken out of the rotation because of stiffness.
Beckett, who was suffering from a sore lat last week, was scheduled to start Thursday night against Cleveland.
In Valentine's words, "I've never seen a pitcher get hurt playing golf."
Valentine said Beckett was scratched from a start last week with stiffness, but he didn't consider that to be an injury and wasn't bothered by Beckett golfing on his off day.
Fans haven't been so forgiving since the story surfaced earlier this week. The Red Sox are off to a 12-18 start and sit in dead last in the American League East.
Valentine, speaking before the Red Sox opened a homestand against the Indians, said he understands the frustration the fans feel toward Beckett and the whole team in general. He said the Red Sox haven't given the fans any reason to get past the bad feelings of the slide that ended last season, and knocked Boston out of playoff contention in the final game.
Beckett's off-the-field decisions have come up before. After last season, it was discovered that he was among a group that ate fried chicken and drank beer in the clubhouse during games. It is common for players to golf during the season, but typically not when one is recovering from an injury.
Updated May 10, 2012