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Baseball notebook: Back spasms bench Beckett

Associated Press

Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett was scratched from Monday night’s scheduled start because of back spasms.

“He’s been feeling it. This time of year, guys feel it a lot,” Boston manager Terry Francona said before the game against Toronto. “But on the plane last night he tried to get comfortable and didn’t. I think he thought he’d wake up and take a hot shower and go about his business. And when that didn’t happen, he called me. … We said this doesn’t make sense, and he kind of agreed.”

Michael Bowden started against the Blue Jays instead. Francona did not say when Beckett is expected to pitch again, and Beckett was not available for comment before the game.

Also on Monday, left-hander Jon Lester played long toss and didn’t report any problems with the quadriceps muscle that was hit by a line drive against the New York Yankees on Friday night.

Dodgers hit with injuries

Outfielder Manny Ramirez was out of the Dodgers’ lineup because of a sore left hamstring, the same problem that forced third baseman Casey Blake to return early to Los Angeles to be treated by a team doctor.

The Dodgers also were without infielder Ronnie Belliard, who injured his groin while running the bases Sunday.

Marlins ace ready to make return

Florida Marlins right-hander Josh Johnson is set to start today against the Atlanta Braves after being scratched from his last appearance because of the flu. The team doctor told Johnson he doesn’t have swine flu.

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