Beckett has strained right elbow, is put on 15-day DL

Josh Beckett was diagnosed with a strained right elbow and was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday, retroactive to Aug. 18.

The announcement was made prior to the Red Sox's game Friday night against the Chicago White Sox. Tests on Beckett's elbow, taken during his visit with Dr. James Andrews on Friday, were clean, according to manager Terry Francona.

"I don't trust anybody more than I trust him when it comes to stuff like that. Just to go down there and hear it from him. It's something I needed to do, just to clear my mind," Beckett said. "He said my ligament looked fine. That's what I was afraid of. ... It was a big relief."

Francona said that if things progress, he expected Beckett to be ready next week for the series opener against the Rangers in Texas.

Beckett had been scheduled to pitch Friday night's opener of the three-game series with the White Sox but was scratched Thursday, when he went on the disabled list, and replaced by Daisuke Matsuzaka.

"I don't like to see anybody get hurt, but thank you, Josh," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said with a smile before the game. "To me, he's one of the best pitchers, if he's not the best pitcher, in the game. This guy is a big-time, big-game pitcher.

"They're going to miss him. I'd rather face anybody else than face him. He's one if the best I've ever seen."

General manager Theo Epstein had told reporters that Beckett's elbow
"doesn't feel 100 percent."

A serious injury to Beckett would be a major blow to Boston, trying to repeat as World Series champions. The Red Sox lead the AL wild-card race after completing a 6-3 road trip.

Francona hopes to have Beckett back for the stretch drive for a playoff spot.

"There were a number of tests and Josh came through with flying colors," he said. "Obviously, we hoped for that. We needed to get some closure."

A 20-game winner and postseason star for Boston last season, Beckett hasn't pitched since Aug. 17, when he reported numbness and tingling in his right arm.

The right-hander's spot in the rotation came up again last weekend in Toronto, but he was pushed back and scheduled to pitch Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.

Then, he skipped a bullpen session Saturday because of continued numbness and tingling in his arm. At that point, Francona said Beckett had "inflammation" in his elbow and he wouldn't start again until this Friday against Chicago.

After Beckett threw a 50-pitch side session Tuesday in New York, Francona said his pitcher felt strong and was on target to start Friday.

The next day, the Red Sox began to hedge, saying they were evaluating the 28-year-old Beckett on a day-to-day basis.

The 2003 World Series MVP with Florida, Beckett is 11-9 with a 4.34 ERA this year. He said his elbow has bothered him on and off this season.

"We're just dealing with it the best way we can. I don't think we can do anything different," Beckett said.

In other moves, Boston placed first baseman Sean Casey on the disabled list retroactive to Aug. 20 with a neck strain and moved shortstop Julio Lugo from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list with a strained left quadriceps. Lugo can come off that on Sept. 10.

The Red Sox also purchased the contract of catcher David Ross from Triple-A Pawtucket. Boston signed him as a free agent Aug. 22, three days after he was released by Cincinnati where he hit .231 with three homers and 13 RBIs in 52 games this year.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.