- Mike Reiss, ESPN Staff Writer
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BOSTON -- Boston Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett will "in all likelihood" miss his scheduled start Friday with back spasms, but manager Terry Francona said Tuesday afternoon that medical tests did not reveal anything major.
"No [concern about it being a long-term injury], that's why he did that [examination]," Francona said. "It's a spasm in his back. We've all had it. Sometimes it goes away in a day, sometimes it's a couple days. Pitching in a game and throwing a side is probably not going to help it today or tomorrow."
Beckett had been scheduled to throw a side session Tuesday, but that was scratched as well.
Thanks to Thursday's off day, the possibility of Beckett missing a start shouldn't cause any issues with the rotation. Tim Wakefield would start Wednesday, with Clay Buchholz moving up to start Friday's opener in Detroit and Jon Lester and John Lackey pitching over the weekend.
"With the day off [Thursday], we can stay right in order and everybody still gets an extra day [of rest]," Francona said.
Francona did not indicate when Beckett would make his next start, saying it would depend on how quickly he bounced back. If he's not ready to return by next Tuesday in New York against the Yankees, it could mean another start for Wakefield.
Beckett experienced the bask spasms while swinging a bat before Monday night's game against the Toronto Blue Jays. He was part of a group of pitchers taking swings in the indoor cage just before the game, Francona said Monday, when he felt his back "grab" on him.
Beckett's injury came as Red Sox pitchers have been preparing to hit in interleague play. The team's first interleague series is May 21-23 in Philadelphia.
"It's a progression," Francona said. "We don't want somebody to get hurt [hitting] and they're not used to doing it."
Francona said Tuesday he wasn't sure which side of Beckett's back was ailing.
"Left or right," Francona said, smiling. "As Manny [Ramirez] said, 'pick one.'"
Mike Reiss covers the Patriots and occasionally the Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter.
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