Josh Beckett Still ‘Really Sick,’ May Not Be Able to Start on Saturday

BOSTON — Josh Beckett remains "really sick" and his Saturday start in Pittsburgh is up in the air, Red Sox manager Terry Francona said Wednesday morning.

Beckett was scratched from his originally scheduled start Tuesday against San Diego because of the illness. The club pushed him back to Saturday in order to give him time to get well, and then prepare through the usual side sessions. The flu bug persists, however, and Beckett has not been seen at the park for over a day.

Because of scheduled days off Thursday and Monday, the Sox will be OK in terms of filling the gaps. Tim Wakefield can take Beckett's start on regular rest and Andrew Miller, originally slated to start the series opener in Philadelphia on Tuesday, might go Sunday in Pittsburgh instead. That would line up John Lackey and Jon Lester for the first two games against the Phillies, unless Beckett is better by then.

Miller has been instructed to throw a short side on Wednesday to line himself up for Saturday.

"We're going to have to play this by ear," Francona said.

Beckett, like most any starter, has a routine building up to each and every start. Because he remains very ill, he is unable to perform the usual duties he needs to in order to get prepared. Unless there is improvement in the next 24 hours or so, Saturday's start will be a wash.

"We don't want to run him out there the first day he’s OK," Francona added. "We want him to have, because we know him so well, we want him to have day two, day three, day four. So we'll see how he responds today or [Thursday]."

The medical staff has ruled out anything more severe than the flu.

Beckett is coming off one of his best starts as a member of the Red Sox. He threw a complete-game, one-hit shutout at Tampa Bay on June 15.

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