ShareThis Page
Sports

Beckett hit hard, booed at Fens after golf uproar

| Thursday, May 10, 2012, 10:38 p.m.
Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Josh Beckett wipes his head in the dugout after being taken out in the third inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians in Boston, Thursday, May 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Josh Beckett wipes his head in the dugout after being taken out in the third inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians in Boston, Thursday, May 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
Boston Red Sox's Josh Beckett pitches in the first inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians in Boston, Thursday, May 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
Boston Red Sox's Josh Beckett pitches in the first inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians in Boston, Thursday, May 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
Boston Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett, second from right, hands the ball to manager Bobby Valentine, left, and leaves the game as catcher Kelly Shoppach, second from left, and Adrian Gonzalez (28) watch in the third inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians in Boston, Thursday, May 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
Boston Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett, second from right, hands the ball to manager Bobby Valentine, left, and leaves the game as catcher Kelly Shoppach, second from left, and Adrian Gonzalez (28) watch in the third inning of a baseball game against the Cleveland Indians in Boston, Thursday, May 10, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

BOSTON — Josh Beckett must have lasted longer on the golf course than he did on the mound.

The embattled Red Sox ace was booed off the field at Fenway Park when he was pulled after just 2.1 ineffective innings Thursday night against Cleveland.

Hours earlier, Boston manager Bobby Valentine downplayed the uproar over Beckett's golf outing last week, which came a day after he was scratched from his scheduled start because of stiffness.

Already in hot water with Red Sox fans when the story surfaced that Beckett was hitting the links with his sore lat, Beckett was jeered early and often Thursday as the Indians tagged him for seven runs and seven hits, including two homers, while building a 7-1 lead.

One fan yelled “FORE!” when Michael Brantley lined a foul ball down the right-field line, but all the chuckles quickly subsided when Brantley doubled to left-center. It was the second straight double for the Indians, ending Beckett's night.

Fans cheered when Valentine came out of the dugout and immediately signaled to the bullpen for lefty Andrew Miller.

Beckett's off-the-field decisions and commitment to the team have come into question before.

After last season, it was revealed that he was among a group of pitchers who ate fried chicken and drank beer in the clubhouse during games on days they didn't pitch.

It is common for players to golf during the season, but typically not when recovering from an injury.

Valentine said before the game that Beckett was scratched from a start last week with stiffness, which he didn't think would be made worse by golfing. Had Beckett been sidelined with an injury, Valentine might have felt differently.

“I didn't think he was injured when he was skipped,” Valentine said.

Fans haven't been so forgiving since the story surfaced earlier this week. The Red Sox were off to a 12-18 start and were last in the AL East going into Thursday night's game.

Beckett entered 2-3 with a 4.45 ERA in five starts.

Valentine, speaking before the Red Sox opened a homestand against the Indians, said he understands why fans were outraged that Beckett was golfing instead of resting for his return to the rotation.

“I understand the frustration for sure,” he said. “I understand the desire for excellence. I have the same frustration and anger at myself for not meeting the standard.”

A sour mood in Boston still lingers over the team's record collapse at the end of last season, when the Red Sox slumped through September and were knocked out of playoff contention in the final game.

“I was told there was a lot of negative feelings about last year. The first month of play, we haven't done anything to erase those feelings,” Valentine said. “We have to play better and I think it will get better.”

As for Beckett, a few good outings would probably restore a positive outlook among the fans who are angered by his golf outing. A few bad starts, however, and the pressure on him is only going to increase.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me