Early Tuesday, a scout volunteered in a text message, “(Red) Sox real concerned after Beckett and Lester.”
And that was before left-hander Jon Lester left Boston's game Tuesday night after four no-hit innings because of a strain in the muscle behind his pitching shoulder.
More will be known about the injury when Lester undergoes an examination Wednesday. But as the scout noted, Boston's rotation was perilously thin even before the loss of Lester.
Right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka is out for the season after undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery.
Right-hander Clay Buchholz, who has not pitched since June 16 because of a sore lower back, will be examined by a specialist Wednesday.
Right-hander John Lackey, in the second year of a five-year, $82.5 million contract, has a 7.47 ERA in 13 starts — and a 9.17 ERA in seven starts at Fenway Park.
Yet, Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein told NESN on Tuesday that the team was more likely to add a complementary position player than a pitcher before the July 31 non-waiver deadline.
“I don’t see a ton of pitching help out there,” Epstein said. “The few guys who can really make an impact, it would take half your farm system or your whole farm system.
“We could end up with a pitcher. We could end up with a position player. But just looking at the landscape, there are probably more position players that could fit for us than pitching right now.”
Epstein, however, spoke before Lester’s issue surfaced Tuesday night.
The Sox plugged in righty Tim Wakefield for Matsuzaka, and righty Alfredo Aceves will take Lester’s next turn on Sunday, according to the Boston Globe. Lefty Felix Doubront and righties Kyle Weiland and Kevin Millwood represent alternatives at Triple-A.
Still, rotation depth was the team’s No. 1 concern in spring training. If anything, the issue is growing only more pronounced.
To this point, the Red Sox have not pursued starting pitchers, according to major league sources. But even if they get the possible news on Lester, that could change.
— Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi