Lackey or Bedard to face Yankees in finale

Lackey or Bedard to face Yankees in finale

Lackey or Bedard to face Yankees in finale
BOSTON -- After Josh Beckett closes out the Red Sox's homestand vs. the Orioles on Wednesday, Jon Lester and Tim Wakefield are Boston's scheduled starters for the first two games of three against the Yankees in New York this weekend.

The series finale on Sunday could see Boston start John Lackey, which would keep the same order as the last turn through the rotation, or Erik Bedard could take his place.

"[I] want to kind of obviously see how Bedard comes through this," manager Terry Francona said Tuesday, before Bedard pitched against the Orioles at Fenway Park.

Making his first start since Sept. 3 because of strains to his left knee and his left lat, Bedard allowed four runs (one earned) on five hits over 2 2/3 innings.

On a pitch count, he might have been able to save the bullpen had it not been for an error by right fielder Josh Reddick with two outs in the third inning. Bedard needed 51 pitches in the inning before eventually getting replaced by Scott Atchison.

"I thought he was OK," Francona said afterward. "A 50-pitch inning is very difficult."

"I felt pretty good," Bedard said. "The knee was good, the lat was good. I just felt good."

Bedard was reportedly served with papers in a child support case dealing with his ex-girlfriend just hours before his start.

"If you play a sport, you have to put all that stuff aside," he said afterward. "If you let outside distraction get to you, you can't focus out there."

Lackey's season has been a disappointment almost through and through with a 12-12 record and 6.49 ERA, so it's conceivable the Sox don't want him to face the Yankees in an important game. But Francona said he wanted to see how Bedard was doing after Tuesday's start before making any decisions.

"The other day, the last time he pitched, he was pretty sore and still had a pretty good feel for pitching," Francona said. "We'll certainly check on him. I know what we're dealing with, things like that, but I thought he was OK."

Bedard said after Tuesday's game that he was not yet told if he would start on Sunday.

Jason Mastrodonato is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.