Beckett placed on 15-day DL

BOSTON -- Whatever suspicions Yankees manager Joe Girardi harbored that Josh Beckett wasn't really hurt when he elected to play Tuesday night's game under protest looked even sillier Wednesday afternoon, when the Red Sox placed the right-hander on the 15-day disabled list with what Sox manager Terry Francona called a lower-back strain.

The Red Sox called up veteran reliever Joe Nelson from Pawtucket to take Beckett's roster spot. Tim Wakefield will start in Beckett's place on Sunday in Philadelphia, Francona said, and Beckett would miss one more start a week from Friday at home against the Royals.

Francona said the Sox would rejigger the rotation so that Beckett would start on the day he comes off the list, which would be June 3 against Oakland in Fenway Park, assuming he is physically ready when the 15-day period expires.

Beckett, who already had missed one start because of the back, said he aggravated the condition Tuesday night when he slipped in the fifth inning while throwing a splitter to Alex Rodriguez, on a pitch that Rodriguez flied out to left field.

Up to that point, Beckett said, he had felt fine.

"Truly, it was that one pitch,'' Beckett said. "It was not like it was tight throughout the game. It got tight that one pitch, then got tighter and tighter the next six or seven pitches.''

Beckett, who had been touched for a couple of unearned runs in the second inning and a home run by Yankees rookie Juan Miranda in the fourth, gave up a two-run double to Robinson Cano, who followed A-Rod to the plate in the fifth. That's when pitching coach John Farrell paid a visit to Beckett, who told Farrell about his back.

Farrell, who doesn't customarily make pitching changes, signaled to the bullpen and informed plate umpire Angel Campos of Beckett's condition. But Girardi, suspecting that the Sox might be engaged in a bit of gamesmanship -- because of the injury, reliever Manny Delcarmen was allowed an unlimited number of warm-ups -- informed crew chief Larry Vanover that the Yankees were playing the game under protest.

"They signaled to the bullpen before they announced to the umpires he was hurt," Girardi said after the game. "So you're supposed to get eight warm-up pitches when you make a pitching change, and when you take someone out you're supposed to, if he's physically hurt, take the trainer and talk to the umpire and tell him he's hurt."

A spokesman for Major League Baseball confirmed Wednesday that the commissioner's office received the official paperwork for the protest before the early Thursday deadline.

Francona dismissed questions about the appeal after Tuesday's game, and was equally dismissive Wednesday. "I haven't given it any thought,'' he said. Concerned in the least? "No,'' he said.

So far, this season has been mostly a washout for Beckett, who goes on the DL with a 1-1 record and 7.29 ERA. He and Wakefield have given up a staff-high six home runs apiece.

Gordon Edes is ESPNBoston.com's Red Sox reporter. He covered the Red Sox for 12 years and has reported on baseball for 25 years. Ask a question for his next mailbag here.