BOSTON (AP) _ Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett will take the mound Thursday night at Fenway Park, as controversy swirls around the struggling starter.

With Beckett (2-3, 4.45 ERA) en route back to Boston ahead of his scheduled start vs. Cleveland, manager Bobby Valentine was left in Kansas City, Mo., Wednesday to address reports that Beckett played golf on an off day last week, a day after the team announced he’d be scratched from a start because of back tightness.

“I haven’t talked to Josh about this yet, so I’m not sure I can really comment on it,” Valentine said. “He had a sore lat. He wasn’t an injured player. I know that. We’ll take it from there. But I’m sure that Josh wouldn’t do anything that’s going to jeopardize his team or his season. I know that.”

Beckett’s off-the-field decisions have come up before. After last season, it was discovered that he was among a group that ate fried chicken and drank beer in the clubhouse during games. It is common for players to golf during the season, but typically not when one is recovering from an injury.

Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz was his golfing partner. Buchholz declined to comment on the matter Wednesday before the Red Sox lost to the Royals, 4-3.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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