Josh Beckett has always been a Phillies-killer — with the bat.

In 2006, and again in ’09, Beckett went deep at Citizens Bank Park, helping support his day job as a pitcher.

But Beckett the Batter did himself no favors in the cage Monday, prepping for what would have been a May 23 start in Philadelphia. Already bothered by a stiff back, Beckett further aggravated it while taking batting practice, causing the Red Sox to scrub Beckett’s start Friday in Detroit.


Although Beckett is not expected to miss more than one start, there is no timetable for his reinsertion into the rotation.

“He’s got a spasm in his lower back,” manager Terry Francona said before last night’s game against the Blue Jays. “You just have to let it relax a little bit. In all likelihood he will not pitch on Friday. We don’t know.

He could show up tomorrow and feel great. But what we don’t want him to do is pitch with a sore back and exacerbate something."

Beckett, who had back issues in ’08, has already endured a painful start to his season, allowing a combined 24 earned runs in three of his past four starts, including a nine-run disaster against the Yankees.

That outing, which raised Beckett’s ERA to 7.46, compelled the Sox to originally push Beckett’s start today back to Friday, giving the right-hander time to fix his mechanics.

Tim Wakefield, in bullpen exile the past two weeks, takes Beckett’s spot this afternoon.

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