Let's be clear: I'm all for the moves. Put the man on the DL if you want to take him out of the pressure and focus on mechanics. The DL is not being openly discussed yet with the media, but I expect it is happening between Theo, Farrell and Tito already. I think it's coming. I do not think Theo and crew are willing to keep putting a guy they signed for four more years (at $18 mil per) back out there right now.
I will be honest, the back spasms thing feels like a convenient story and I totally understand why they come up with these white lies. It's to keep the media off his back and out of his head. His self-frustration is at an all time high. There is no doubt in my mind he threw at Jeter to force in a run. A guy who does that needs some of the pressure of being called "the ace" released, and it's the kind that can only come from working side sessions and possibly facing Triple A or Double A batters.
Work on the mechanics, build the confidence back up. Shut him down for a week or two. Yes. Do it.
All weekend and through yesterday, Tito and crew have been saying there is nothing physically wrong with Beckett, but that there were some mechanical things to work on in a side session, particularly with his curveball and his sidestep. Ok, so Beckett will skip the Toronto game on Wednesday (who has seen Josh frequently), Wakefield goes back in to the rotation and Beckett would pitch Friday in Comerica against the Tigers. Sure. Sounds reasonable.
"The additional side for Josh is to reinforce, particularly out of the stretch, him getting back to the proper balance point and not getting too spread out to where he loses his balance on his fastball,'' Farrell told ESPN's Gordon Edes. "When he gets in proper position, his curveball is less readable to an opposing hitter. Part of this at times is his constant use of the slide step. That can cause some of the havoc we're trying to correct.''
Then, evidently, Beckett was taking batting practice last night in the indoor cages (for inter-league games a couple of weeks from now--yes, that works) and tweaked his back, and, oh hey by the way, he had been feeling some pain in his back over the weekend, but no one knows when exactly. During the game? After? No one really knows.
Fine. Whatever. I think we know why this is going on. He's in a extremely negative place. After the Yankees debacle Friday, Beckett was asked by reporters how we would describe his season up to this point. His answer? One word: S-H-I-T.
Bottom line: They want to get Beckett right, and I applaud them for taking whatever action they need to make this work. If the media buy this back spasm thing, then fantastic. Let the man sort it out.
I could totally be wrong and the story is true. I do not hope there are back spasms because that would mean the next 4 years are going to include frequent trips to the DL.
Here's an interesting thing to note from last night's game from Amalie Benjamin of Boston.com:
Former director of performance enhancement Don Kalkstein was in the clubhouse before the game. Kalkstein used to be the Sox’ sports psychologist, and still consults with the club.
Perhaps this consultant was in the indoor batting cages advising Beckett on his swing?
[Image by dgaproductions via Flickr cc 3.0]