Sox to use six-man rotation through All-Star break

Sox to use six-man rotation through All-Star break

SEATTLE -- During this seven-game West Coast swing, the Red Sox will have six different starting pitchers work the first six games.

And with a day-night doubleheader on tap against the Yankees on July 7, you can expect manager Bobby Valentine to keep a six-man rotation through the All-Star break.

Even with Josh Beckett returning to the mix on Saturday against the Mariners, Valentine will keep Aaron Cook and Franklin Morales in the rotation for now.

Though teams go with a five-man rotation during most of the season, clubs typically always need a lot more starters than that to get through the 162-game grind. The Red Sox consider themselves fortunate to have some options these days.

"Well, I always think you need 10 [starting pitchers]," said Valentine. "I felt you leave Spring Training with 10 starters, because when you have a day when someone has to be skipped and you don't want to put him on the DL and you pluck someone from the Minor Leagues, you want to pluck the guy who's ready to pitch on that day. We didn't really build that full 10, but we were close."

If there was a time when a six-man rotation works, the week or two before the All-Star break seems ideal.

"You know, if ever a guy is out of gas, it might be now," Valentine said. "It's not necessarily even a physical thing. You start looking at the finish line and you lose a stride. I think when a guy has that extra day, you can kind of put aside the idea that he's tired."