By Danny Picard and Maureen Mullen
BOSTON -- Just minutes prior to the first pitch on Monday night, the Red Sox announced that John Lackey -- Tuesday nightsprojected starter had been placed on the 15-day disabled list (retroactive toMay 12) because of a right elbow strain.
Lackey, 32, has struggled this season; in seven starts,he's 2-5 with an ERA of 8.01. In his last appearance, May 11 in Toronto, he went 623 innings, giving up nine runs on nine hits with five walks and only onestrikeout. After the game, he said, Everything in my life stinksright now.
Although Lackey didn't get more specific than that,his wife Krista is being treated for breast cancer.
That comment, and his general demeanor that night -- glaring at umpires, showing up teammates on the field, snapping at reporters -- led to speculation that Lackey's off-field problems were affecting his performance and the Sox would attempt to find a DL spot for him simply to allow him to try and clear his head. But manager Terry Francona said after Monday night's game the problems were physical.
There had been some tugging on that elbow, said Francona. Lack is morethan willing to pitch through anything. We already know that.Hes done it before during his time with the Angels, and hell do it again.
But the more we talked to the medical people, we decided to take the decision out of his hands. If this was September, okay, maybe Lackey would stay on the active roster.We all believe in his will, which is fighting through stuff. But it just didntseem fair to us, and we told him that, so we took it out of his hands.
I dont think he was very happy about it, because hes sucha competitor, added Francona. But I think its the right thing to do. I thinkwe all do.
Tim Wakefield will start on Tuesday in Lackeys spot.
It didnt take long for Scott Atchison to be thrown intothe fire, just hours after being called up from Triple-A Pawtucket.
The right-handed reliever replaced DaisukeMatsuzaka in the top of the fifth inning and remained in the game through thesixth. He allowed two inherited runners to score, as Baltimore increased its lead to 5-0, then gave up a run of his own in the sixthinning to make it 6-0.
Atchison was in the clubhouse when the doors opened Tuesday afternoon but Francona, in his pregame meeting with the media, denied he was there to take a roster spot, saying it was a "miscommunication" and Atchison "actually was picking something up".
As it turned out, what he was picking up was Lackey's place on the active roster.
Alfredo Aceves, in a sense, saved the day -- and the rest of thebullpen -- by working the final three innings.
He came in to relieve Atchison to begin the seventh after the Sox had scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth to cut Baltimore's lead to 6-5. Mark Reynolds homered on the second pitch he threw, making it 7-5, but Aceves then settled down and allowed only one more hit the rest of the way.
He was rewarded with the victory when the Sox rallied in the bottom of the ninth.
We certainly are thinking that we dont want to ruin thebullpen, said Francona, referring to the fact that Matsuzaka only lasted 4 13 innings and the Sox were faced with getting 4 23 innings out of their relievers. I dont think you ever give up hope that you want towin the game, but were trying to monitor, certainly, how we can get throughit. Because you cant just start matching up in the fifth or sixth inning.Youre going to ruin the bullpen for days.
So, Aceves gave up the long homer, but other than that, hereally pitched pretty well.
Shortstop Marco Scutaro, on the DL since May 8with a left oblique strain, returned to the team after receivingtreatment -- ice, heat, laser, and cardio work -- over theweekend at his home in Miami.
I cant even reallytell how it feels until I start swinging, said Scutaro. I dontfeel anything, just when I move. I didnt do anything all last week, sofrom today on, Ill be doing activities, and well go fromthere.
The next step for him will be swinging abat. Up until now, hes been cautious. Themedical staff told him the injury gets worse, it could take two monthsto heal.
Right-hander Bobby Jenks, on the DL sinceMay 2 because of a right biceps strain, is getting close to being able toplay catch.
I hope so, Francona said. Hell beexamined today by Red Sox medical director, Dr. Tom Gill. Obviouslythats kind of an important exam. He has to be symptom-free or I thinkthe feeling is hell be putting a Band-Aid on something that we wantgetting better.
Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.
Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen