Red Sox place Beckett on DL with lower back strain |

Red Sox place Beckett on DL with lower back strain

BOSTON (AP) – The Boston Red Sox placed Josh Beckett on the 15-day disabled list with a strained lower back Wednesday shortly before the New York Yankees formally protested the way he was removed from their game the previous night.

Tim Wakefield is set to replace Beckett as the starter Sunday at Philadelphia. Right-handed reliever Joe Nelson was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket to take his roster spot.

Beckett, struggling all season, left Boston’s 7-6 win Tuesday night after allowing a two-run double to Robinson Cano with two outs in the fifth. The Yankees protested to umpire crew chief Larry Vanover after pitching coach John Farrell went to the mound and signaled to the bullpen for Manny Delcarmen before manager Terry Francona and a trainer also went to the mound.

The Yankees filed a formal protest with the commissioner’s office on Wednesday before the deadline of 24 hours after the end of the game.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said the issue isn’t whether Beckett was hurt, but how he was removed from the game and whether Delcarmen should have been allowed only the standard eight warmup pitches. Delcarmen was given all the pitches he needed to get ready on a damp and chilly night, which rules allow when a pitcher departs with an injury.

“I haven’t even given it any thought,” Francona said Wednesday of the protest.

Beckett, who missed his previous scheduled start with back spasms, said he hurt himself on a pitch to Alex Rodriguez, the batter before Cano.

“He felt pretty good up to that point,” Francona said.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Delcarmen shouldn’t have had unlimited warmup pitches.

“In my eyes it was not done in the right way,” Girardi said. “Anytime a guy is in trouble, you signal to the bullpen and say, ‘Oh, he’s hurt.’ That’s a huge advantage.”

Beckett allowed five runs, three of them earned, in 4 2-3 innings Tuesday night. He’s allowed 29 earned runs in his last 27 innings and, for the season, is 1-1 with a 7.29 ERA.

Francona said Beckett had been rushing his delivery to help catchers keep runners from trying to steal.

“Josh had become so quick to the plate that he really wasn’t getting an angle on his fastball,” Francona said. “So he picked up his leg more (Tuesday) night, and I thought, for the most part, he drove the ball downhill a lot better.”

He said Beckett’s back didn’t feel worse Wednesday but the team wanted to be cautious.

“The last thing we want to have happen is have him pitch with a (bad) back and turn the back (injury) into something else,” Francona said, “where he feels like he’s not using his legs (and) he hurts his shoulder.”

Nelson, 35, was 3-2 with one save and a 2.49 ERA in 16 relief outings for Pawtucket. He was been with five major league teams, including two stints with Boston, which sent him to Pawtucket in one of its last spring training moves.