Martinez catches Beckett, meets with Daisuke

May, 18, 2010
NEW YORK -- A few other things worth noting regarding the Sox here:

-- Victor Martinez caught Josh Beckett for the first time since opening night, Jason Varitek having been behind the plate for each of Beckett’s last six starts.

Manager Terry Francona seized on the most obvious explanation for doing so -- Martinez hit two home runs, one from either side of the plate, Monday night -- but the move also invited speculation that the Sox were thinking of pairing Varitek again with Daisuke Matsuzaka.

“I’m not going to make the lineup out for five days from now,’’ Francona said when asked if a Matsuzaka-Varitek reunion was in the works. “That’s impossible.’’

Francona would not say whether it was even being considered, but seemed to discourage the idea when he said: “I think I said a long time ago, we don’t want to have too many personal catchers, and I meant that.’’

Matsuzaka has made four starts since returning to the starting rotation. Varitek was behind the plate for Matsuzaka’s start last week against Toronto, one that Matsuzaka called perhaps his best as a major-leaguer, allowing just three hits and a run, walking none and striking out nine in seven innings.

Martinez has been the catcher for Matsuzaka’s other three starts, in which the Japanese right-hander has allowed 18 earned runs in 14 1/3 innings, an ERA of 11.05. Opponents are batting .344 against Matsuzaka with Martinez catching, and Matsuzaka has been victimized by a big inning, including a five-run first Monday, in each of the three starts.

Martinez had expressed irritation with how frequently he was shaken off by Matsuzaka on Monday night, and Matsuzaka had cryptically said he knew why he’s struggled in three starts, but wasn’t ready to discuss it publicly.

Francona said he met with Martinez and Matsuzaka, a meeting the players continued, he said, even after he broke away to meet with the media. Francona was not forthcoming about the specifics of their conversation.

“We’re trying, as we do every game, to make adjustments and make sure everybody’s on the same page,’’ he said. “I don’t think I ever have a problem with a pitcher shaking off pitches he doesn’t want to throw... If they throw a pitch with conviction, that was probably the right pitch to throw.’’

-- Francona indicated that outfielder Mike Cameron will play Wednesday night for Double-A Portland, weather permitting, and may need an additional few games before being activated. The manager said that Cameron worked out vigorously Tuesday in Fenway Park, but the club wants to make sure he’s over the soreness stemming from his abdominal tear.

Cameron’s agent, Mike Nicotera, said it was premature to speculate on how much the injury will bother the 37-year-old outfielder the rest of the season. Cameron had told the Providence Journal last week while at Pawtucket that he expected he would require off-season surgery; Francona said the club was hopeful he would be able to avoid surgery.

“It’s certainly too early, and frankly makes no sense, to speculate about the length of Mike’s discomfort,’’ Nicotera wrote in an e-mail “He is optimistic that he will be back helping the club soon.’’

Jacoby Ellsbury, meanwhile, went 0 for 3 with a walk in Portland’s 2-1 win Tuesday night and will be re-evaluated in Boston on Wednesday.

Gordon Edes

ESPN Staff Writer



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