BOSTON -- The game of musical chairs that has been Boston's outfield this season continued on Tuesday, when Cody Ross was activated and Scott Podsednik was placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Ross, who was a key contributor for the Red Sox earlier in the season, had been out since May 19 with a fractured navicular bone in his left foot.
"It feels great," said Ross. "I'm really excited. Obviously it's been, I think, a month to the day or maybe a couple of days, but I'm just looking forward to getting back out there and helping the guys win and getting back on track."
Ross batted seventh in manager Bobby Valentine's lineup for Tuesday night's game, playing left field against lefty starter Mark Buehrle.
Podsednik was one of the players who stepped up most while Ross and other outfielders were sidelined. He suffered a mild left groin strain on Sunday, and begrudgingly accepted the team's decision to put him on the disabled list.
"It's not [just] a few days [he would be out], it's probably not two weeks. When it gets to that middle ground, it's really a difficult decision," said Valentine. "To play short for seven days, it's tough. Scott's not real happy about it. He thinks seven days would be fine. And he's playing so well, I'd love to have him in there. But I think this is the right thing to do."
The left-handed Podsednik has rediscovered his career with the Red Sox after being stuck in the Minor Leagues for all of 2011 and the first six weeks of '12.
He is hitting .387 with one homer, seven RBIs and six stolen bases in 19 games.
No structural damage, Beckett likely back soon
BOSTON -- Red Sox right-hander Josh Beckett had some encouraging news after getting an MRI exam on his right shoulder during Monday's off-day.
There is no structural damage, and no reason to think Beckett will need much more than the 15-day disabled list before reclaiming his spot in the rotation.
When the Red Sox scratched Beckett from his start Sunday against the Cubs, the reason was inflammation and some reduced strength from where he was earlier in the season.
That's something that should be able to be fixed with a little downtime and rehab.
Beckett is eligible to pitch for the Red Sox again on June 27. He indicated he will likely return within a couple days of that.
"We did an MRI yesterday and everything looks pretty good," Beckett said. "We took the steps necessary. I think we'll miss [one more] start and maybe push me back a day [in the rotation]."
Franklin Morales, who notched a career-high nine strikeouts over just five innings in Beckett's place at Wrigley Field, will take the ball again on Saturday against the Braves.
"I just had some pain that I was dealing with in my shoulder," said Beckett. "It's stuff that I've dealt with before. But whenever it starts taking away from strength, that's kind of where we've got to [get it checked], and the trainers made the decision that they made."
Beckett would have preferred to just be pushed back a day or two in the rotation instead of going on the DL. But he can see where the team is coming from.
"I kind of got overruled," Beckett said. "I told [manager] Bobby [Valentine] I thought I could make two more starts, then probably do the things that we did yesterday. But like I said, I got overruled. It was probably smart. I'm definitely not ready for my career to be over. That's kind of ... when you start getting inflammation plus strength limitations [and keep pitching], that's when you tend to do something catastrophic."
Sox take exception to 'toxic' clubhouse report
BOSTON -- In a recent blog for ESPN, national baseball writer Buster Olney wrote that the Red Sox's clubhouse was toxic.
Several players and manager Bobby Valentine took exception to that report and disputed the accuracy of it.
"Completely fabricated," said Red Sox right-hander Josh Beckett. "I don't know where people get that from. I think people want that to be the case and I just don't think it is. I think this is probably one of the tightest-knit groups I've ever been a part of, with dinners on the road, a couple family trips here this last time. We do a lot of stuff together. There's a good continuity here. I think there are certain people, they want it to be that way, and so they report it that way. It's just not like that at all."
There were well-chronicled issues after last September's collapse about players not pulling from the same rope, and even beer-drinking by starting pitchers during games they weren't pitching in.
But there have been no specific incidents that have come to light this season about misconduct or a lack of cohesion.
"It's one of the better ones I've ever been on," said Red Sox outfielder Cody Ross. "All the guys get along real well. We enjoy playing with each other, we enjoy hanging out with each other -- just a really good vibe in here."
"I don't know how to define toxic," Valentine said. "It's too big a word for me. But I'm not going to comment on people's articles. I don't even comment on [the Boston media's] articles. Why would I comment on someone that I don't think knows anything."
What does Valentine see from his clubhouse?
"A bunch of guys who get dressed and play loud music before the game and seem to get ready," Valentine said. "I don't have a word for it. I mean, I don't think it's romper room or whatever it is. You know, it's a lot of guys -- a lot of men who hang out together. A lot of changing parts in there too."
Ellsbury, Crawford take steps forward
BOSTON -- Several hours before the Red Sox started their game against the Marlins on Tuesday night, there was the welcome sight of Jacoby Ellsbury taking batting practice on the field.
While the Red Sox had an off-day on Monday, Ellsbury was at Fenway taking BP.
Ellsbury is picking up steam in his return from a right shoulder subluxation, and the outfielder should be starting a Minor League rehab stint soon.
"Close to playing -- close to game activities," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. "I don't mean tomorrow. But he's close. He's made great, steady progress."
Valentine did offer that he thought left fielder Carl Crawford, who hasn't played in 2012, would be on a Minor League rehab assignment by next week.
Crawford, who started the season on the disabled list recovering from left wrist surgery and then had to deal with a sprained UCL joint in his left elbow, is feeling better by the day.
Then there is also good news on closer Andrew Bailey, who underwent right thumb surgery just before the season.
"Andrew came in this afternoon, I talked to him, he's feeling great," Valentine said. "He has a mound session here [soon], and you know, we're going to take it from a mound to another mound to a simulated situation to possibly an inning down in Florida, and then off to a rehab assignment."