Tuesday Red Sox Notes: Josh Beckett, Andrew Bailey, 40-Man Roster

Mar 8, 2012; Jupiter, FL. USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Josh Beckett (19) throws out a St. Louis Cardinals base runner at Roger Dean Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Red Sox 9-3. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-US PRESSWIRE

The biggest news of the day is obviously the whirlwind of half-updates surrounding closer Andrew Bailey.

While last night we knew only that Bailey was seeking a second opinion in Cleveland after an evaluation in Boston seemed to suggest surgery was in the cards, today we know...

...pretty much nothing more. While Bailey was scheduled to receive his second opinion today, the big to do seems to have come not from any update from Cleveland, but comments from Ben Cherington and Bobby Valentine essentially confirming what we already knew:

Ben Cherington

"We're proceeding as if he's not going to be on the roster for Opening Day. Until we get a little more information I don't want to speculate on what may or may not happen. It's clear he has an injury, we're still trying to figure out the best way to deal with it.

...

Don't think [surgery] would happen today. If the procedure's necessary, I think it would happen soon but we're not at that point yet.''

(via Rob Bradford, WEEI)

Now, in all likelihood it does seem as though Bailey will be missing at least a few months with what Alex Speier is calling a UCL injury. Still, the situation at the moment isn't really far removed from where it was yesterday.

The same is true of Josh Beckett, incidentally, who was also covered by Cherington:

"Josh has had some soreness off and on this spring that he's pitched through. We took the opportunity, the time between his last outing to the extended side he threw, the 100 pitch side in Fort Myers to let him gather as much information as possible so that we could help him manage it the best possible. He's not that

concerned about it, we expect him to pitch Game 2. It's mostly information gathering at this point."

(via Rob Bradford, WEEI)

What is worrisome is that Beckett is even headed to Cleveland at all. Given that his trip to Texas was just supposed to be for "peace of mind," shouldn't that have cleared everything up if it was in fact nothing to worry about? The Sox' rotation can ill-afford any early loss.

*****

All these injuries bring up another issue for the Red Sox: the composition of the 40-man roster. As Brian MacPherson points out, it's full up right now, and the replacement for Bailey (or even Beckett, should he go down) are absent.

There's some obvious space to be opened up, however. While Rich Hill seems like he'll be ready too soon to be placed on the 60-day disabled list, the likes of Chris Carpenter and Daisuke Matsuzaka could be added with no real consequence.

Still, there are also some obvious additions in the form of Vicente Padilla and whoever takes Carl Crawford's roster spot on the 25-man while he continues to recover.

If Andrew Bailey needs surgery, then there's no significant issue here. He can be moved to the 60-day DL himself, and someone like Scott Atchison can be added to both the 40- and 25-man rosters. And if Josh Beckett stays healthy, then it's hardly an issue at all. The big crunch would seem to come if either end up on the 15-day disabled list, leaving the Sox with positions to fill and no slots freed up for their replacements.

In such a situation, the Sox could always call on the likes of Junichi Tazawa or Michael Bowden to fill Bailey's role. Beckett, on the other hand, would require the addition of Aaron Cook, which would likely mean the removal of another player entirely. In such a case, the Sox would likely not suffer too much pain from releasing or trading some of the less impressive members of the 40-man, but they've been notoriously stingy with holding onto their assets in past years, so it remains to be seen.

*****

Speaking of the 40-man and Aaron Cook, he and Ross Ohlendorf were reassigned to minor league camp today. That's not really news for us or the players, however. Cook has been expecting to act as the first line of defense for the rotation all along, and that means getting consistent starts in the minors. As for Ohlendorf, he was a very long shot to begin with.

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