Beckett's suspension reduced to five games
Right-hander does not appeal at request of Red Sox
BOSTON -- Red Sox ace Josh Beckett had his six-game suspension reduced by a game, and he will make his start on Saturday at Fenway against the Yankees.
Beckett started his suspension with Sunday's game against the Orioles. Though he didn't agree with the decision by Major League Baseball -- he thought the punishment should have been dropped entirely -- he stopped short of going through with a full appeal process at the request of the Red Sox.
"We didn't actually have a hearing, and that was because everybody has to answer to somebody, and my boss told me that this was the best thing for the ballclub," Beckett said. "If it was up to me, obviously, we would have appealed this all the way, because I don't think I deserved even one game. When your boss tells you that something is best for the whole group, then that's what we do."
The Red Sox have an off-day on Thursday, so with Beckett taking the suspension now, they can line up their rotation with minimal effect. Jon Lester will start on Friday and still have four days of rest. Beckett will flip-flop with the lefty and pitch the next day.
"I don't think that the organization felt like it was ever going to get lessened more than five [games]," said manager Terry Francona. "Regardless of how we feel about what happened, once the decision was made [by MLB] to overturn the umpires, looking at past history and how the league feels about it, regardless of what kind of case Josh stated, I don't think they go below five, because they want you to miss a start.
"Once it came to the point where they got to the five over the phone, it probably seemed like the best thing to do for the ballclub, and that's what Beckett agreed to. I don't think he ever remotely felt like he did anything on purpose, and I probably need to say that, but it's probably still for the betterment of the ballclub to not take a chance and have a hearing come up in the middle of a start, where you really have a tough time answering the bell."
On April 12 at Anaheim, Beckett was facing Bobby Abreu in the bottom of the first inning. As Beckett was holding speedster Chone Figgins at second base, he went into his delivery, only to notice at the last instant that Abreu had called for time.
Beckett went through with the pitch anyway, and his fastball sailed in high and tight at Abreu.
The Angels felt that Beckett purposely threw at Abreu. The right-hander emphatically denied that the pitch had any intent.
The umpiring crew in Anaheim agreed with Beckett, and didn't eject him from the game. However, Bob Watson, vice president of on-field operations for Major League Baseball, saw it differently.
"I don't support this at all," Beckett said. "If it was up to me, we would have went through the whole process. It could have eventually been a lot worse if we had gone through with the whole thing. Everybody has got to answer to somebody. When your boss tells you to do something, obviously you do what's best for the team."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.