ESPNews reports the Boston Red Sox placed starting pitcher Josh Beckett (finger) on the 15-day disabled list Friday, May 18, because of a torn flap of skin on the middle finger of his throwing hand. The move was retroactive to Monday, May 14.
The injury developed during his last start, Sunday, when he had to leave after just four innings. It was Beckett's first start this year in which he failed to pick up the win. Prior to that, he had gone 7-0 with a 2.51 ERA. He also had 40 strikeouts in 46 2/3 innings pitched. For the season he is 7-0 with a 2.66 ERA and 47 strikeouts.
Beckett will be eligible to return Tuesday, May 29, and he is expected to miss two starts. He will throw a side session Friday, May 18, which was when he was scheduled to make his next start. Pitcher Devern Hansack will get the start instead, after being called up from Triple-A Pawtucket. The team does not believe this will be a serious problem for Beckett, and they are confident he will return after missing just two starts. One worrying note, however, is that this represents Beckett's 10th trip to the disabled list in his career. Of those trips, seven of them have been due to skin problems on his fingers, so it has been problem for him in the past.
Where does that leave your fantasy team? Well, provided it remains a short-term injury, there are several options. Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Mark Hendrickson is one potential alternative for your fantasy team. He currently has a 2-0 record with a 2.61 ERA. He also has 29 strikeouts in just 38 innings, so there may not be a huge drop-off from Beckett in that stat. He has shown a few worrying signs lately, namely a tendency to give up the long ball; however, he should be available in most leagues. He doesn't offer much upside, either.
An even better choice would be Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Fausto Carmona. Carmona began the season as the Tribe's sixth starter; however, injuries have given him the chance to start seven games so far this season. If he continues his current streak, it will be hard for the Indians to send him down when they are healthy. He has won his last five starts, lowering his ERA from 6.97 to 2.55 in the process. His best start was his last one, when he threw his first complete-game shutout, allowing just four hits. Making it even more impressive was that it came against reigning American League Cy Young Award-winner Johan Santana. The only category Carmona will likely not help you is in strikeouts, where he has just 20 in 49 1/3 innings pitched.
As a final option, Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Chad Gaudin could also be a decent replacement for Beckett. This season Gaudin made the jump from the bullpen to the starting rotation; the move has paid off for both team and player. In eight starts, Gaudin has posted a 2-1 record with a 2.93 ERA. He has also struck out 38 batters in 46 innings pitched.
As mentioned, Beckett is not expected to miss more than the two starts; however, with his past injuries, it is a definite possibility this problem could crop up in the future. Keep an eye on KFFL for updates on Beckett's condition both now and later in the season.
About Bryce McRae
Bryce McRae is a Managing Editor with KFFL and has been involved in fantasy sports since 1999. He joined KFFL as a volunteer writer in March 2005 before becoming a Hot off the Wire Analyst in March 2006. He began working in his current capacity in September 2008. His work has appeared on fantasy sports sites such as Yahoo! and CBS Sportsline as well as in print. He graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2008 with a B.A. in History and U.S. Studies.
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