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Red Sox

Beckett Confident He’ll Start Sunday

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Pitcher Josh Beckett #19 of the Boston Red Sox pitches in the first inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on July 3, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Pitcher Josh Beckett #19 of the Boston Red Sox pitches in the first inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on July 3, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

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Boston Red Sox

BOSTON (CBS) – The pitching matchups are out for the Red Sox-Rays weekend series, just not completely set in stone.

Josh Beckett is confident he will take his turn on Sunday, as are the Red Sox, but there still remains a chance he could miss it with a lingering knee injury.

“He’s pretty confident he’ll pitch Sunday,” manager Terry Francona said at Thursday’s workout in St. Petersburg. “If for some reason he can’t we’ll back him up a couple of days. I have a feeling that’s going to be the worst case scenario; which is good.”

If Beckett cannot go Sunday, Kyle Weiland would get the start.

Beckett was supposed to pitch the second inning of the All-Star game on Tuesday but felt soreness in his left knee while warming up. It is the same knee that chased him from his start against the Baltimore Orioles after just five inning last Friday.

“I think on pitch 10 he felt it and he promised he was not going to do something that was going to set him back,” said Francona. “I kind of respected the idea that he wanted to go to the All-Star Game. (He) wanted to participate and at the same time he was mature enough not to do something that was going to set him back.”

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Boston will send Andrew Miller to the bump against the Rays Friday night to start the second half of the season.

“Any time I get an opportunity I’m happy to take it,” said Miller. “(I’m) just going to go out there and look to throw strikes, let them put the ball in play; try to win another game, that’s the goal every time out.”

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While he has won his last three starts, Miller has been the victim of some high pitch counts and benefited from run support by the high-powered Sox offense.

“Fortunately they’ve scored a lot of runs on the day I’ve pitched; played great defense,” he said. “I can definitely pitch better than I have, but with the offense and this team we have around us so far things have worked out well and I’ve been able to keep us in games.”

Miller said he would like to improve his control and get a few 1-2-3 innings to help his pitch count stay on the lower side.

Pitching Matchups For Red Sox-Rays Series

Friday 7:10pm

  • Andrew Miller (3-0, 3.57 ERA) vs David Price (8-7, 3.70 ERA)

Saturday 4:10pm

  • John Lackey (6-8, 6.84 ERA) vs James Shields (8-7, 2.33 ERA)

Sunday 8:05pm

  • Josh Beckett (8-3, 2.27 ERA) vs Jeff Niemann (4-4, 4.53 ERA)
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