Pregame quick hits: Scutaro returns

June, 16, 2010
BOSTON -- Red Sox shortstop Marco Scutaro is back in the lineup tonight after missing one game because of a nerve-root injection he received in his neck Monday.

Scutaro has been dealing with a stiff neck for the majority of the season and said this afternoon he’s feeling better. When he woke up this morning he didn’t have the usual discomfort he’s been experiencing.

Even though he did not play in the first game of the three-game set against Arizona, Scutaro was able to hit in the cage during the game.

“He’s probably not going to get a ton of days off,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “I don’t think he wants them and he’s a good player, so hopefully this will give him a little help.”

Despite the injury, Scutaro has been playing well. He has hit safely in 10 of his last 12 games and is batting .359 (28-for-78) during that span.

Here are a few other pregame notes from Francona:

* Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka played long toss today at 150 feet and depending how he does, it’s possible he could throw a side session on Thursday. “He’s doing pretty well,” Francona said. Dice-K was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with forearm tightness.

* Francona said right-hander Josh Beckett (lower-back strain) is also doing very well. “He really feels good about himself and that was the best news for us. The look on his face, he’s confident.”

Just because Beckett is feeling better doesn’t mean the Sox are going to rush him back.

* It’s no secret Francona is a big Celtics fan and a close friend of coach Doc Rivers. When asked if he had any advice for Rivers in advance of Game 7 of the NBA Finals on Thursday, Francona said he'd will remain a fan.

“I don’t know the difference between zone defense and man-to-man,” Francona said kiddingly. “He doesn’t need advice. They know what they’re doing. Win or lose, they know what they’re doing. I think ‘perspective’ is probably a word not well used around here. You’ve got a team that’s playing for the championship of the world, that’s a pretty amazing accomplishment within itself.”

“It’s exciting. Tomorrow night is a big night. There are a lot of cities I would think are envious of where the Celtics are. I think people may lose sight of how enjoyable the journey can be. You don’t have to wait until it’s over to enjoy it.”

Joe McDonald

ESPN Staff Writer



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