Beckett suffers setback in rehab

Updated: May 29, 2010, 11:08 PM ET
By Joe McDonald | ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- The Red Sox have decided it would be best to slow down the rehab process for pitcher Josh Beckett.

The right-hander has been on the disabled list with a lower-back strain and was able to toss a side session on Friday. During the session, Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell noticed Beckett was having difficulty repeating his delivery, so everyone involved discussed the situation at length on Saturday and it was decided to ease Beckett off.

Beckett is eligible to come off the 15-day DL on June 3, but manager Terry Francona gave no specifics for what's next in the pitcher's recovery plan.

"We're going to slow him down a little bit," Francona said. "The thinking involved is, he's not able to repeat his delivery consistently enough and that worries us. He starts changing arm angles and you can run into some problems that we don't need to run into. Until we're a little more comfortable, and he's more comfortable, we're just going to slow it down a little bit."

Francona said that since the Red Sox have a lot invested in the veteran right-hander, and that there are concerns with his lower back, the uncertainty of his health is worrisome.

"We don't want it to lead to anything else," said Francona. "We know him so well, when he tries to pitch and he doesn't feel like he has his legs under him, it'll lead to other problems and we don't need that."

Francona admitted this injury is similar to what Beckett experienced in 2008 when he dealt with a back issue the entire season and tried to pitch through it, which led to arm and oblique injuries.

"I don't think it's identical, but yes," Francona said. "When you're around guys a lot and know them very well, you don't want this to turn into something it shouldn't."

Joe McDonald covers the Red Sox and Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.

Joe McDonald

Reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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