The silence finally broken, Josh Beckett had a simple but critical message before Tuesday’s series opener against Miami.
Everything is fine.
After being placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with right shoulder inflammation, the Red Sox righthander had an MRI Monday and said Tuesday, “Everything looks good.’’
Beckett declined to speak to the media after each of his past two starts, refused comment in Chicago when asked about going on the DL, and was in no mood to discuss his self-imposed silence.
“That was my choice,’’ he said.
He was more talkative about returning to the mound. Beckett’s absence will likely cover just one scheduled start. The move is retroactive to June 12, so Beckett can pitch as soon as June 27 against Toronto, when the Red Sox conclude a nine-game homestand.
He had planned to play through the pain for two more starts, then possibly miss his last scheduled outing before the All-Star break. But with his strength increasingly limited by the inflammation, Beckett got shelved instead.
“I told Bobby [Valentine], I thought I could make two more starts . . . but I got overruled and it’s probably smart,’’ Beckett said. “I’m definitely not ready for my career to be over. When you start getting inflammation plus strength limitations, that’s when you tend to do something catastrophic.’’
Beckett’s exact return date will depend on whether Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, the pitchers scheduled to go around the time Beckett gets off the DL, want an extra day off. If that is the case, Beckett said, he will be ready to go. If not? Then the decision is out of his hands.
“It’s up to [Lester],’’ Beckett said. “He’s not the one on the DL. I think he should be able to pitch whenever he wants. If he wants to pitch on that day, or if he wants an extra day, I’ll pitch on that day. I think it’s up to those two guys, because they’re the ones going out there right now.
“You don’t come off the DL and say, ‘Hey, I want to pitch right now.’ You get to say that if you’re not on the DL.’’
Since ceding seven runs in 2 1/3 innings against Cleveland May 10, Beckett has steadied the ship. In his past six appearances, he has a 2.68 ERA, striking out 30 and walking six. He also has lasted through the seventh inning in all six starts, something he did only twice in his first six games of 2012.
But Beckett’s turnaround has been masked by a lack of run support. In his past three outings, all losses, the Sox scored five total runs.
When asked about Beckett and his return, Valentine had little to offer.
“I didn’t get to talk to him,’’ Valentine said. “Everything seems to have gone perfectly.’’
Franklin Morales started in Beckett’s place for Sunday’s rubber match at Wrigley Field. The lefthander struck out a career-high nine and gave up two runs on four hits in five innings. He also went 1 for 2 at the plate. Morales received a no-decision in his longest outing since April 8, 2009, but the Sox won, 7-4.
“Awesome,’’ Beckett said of Morales. “We called him the teammate of the day. He had fun doing it. That’s a lot to ask for the guy. He accepted it, went out there, and did what he had to do.’’
And when Morales boarded the team bus after the game, Beckett joined the team in giving him a standing ovation.Alex Prewitt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @alex_prewitt.