Josh Beckett will likely make his next start after the All-Star break. (Scott Rovak/Cardinals)
ST. PETERSBURG -- Even though Josh Beckett is eligible to come off the disabled list on July 3, chances are the Marlins won't activate the injured right-hander until after the All-Star Break.
"We've got to get him right," manager Jack McKeon said. "We have an injury here that you can't put a timetable on. It could be over in two weeks, or it might be a month."
Beckett officially went on the DL Friday with an intracostal strain, or a pulled muscle to his lower back/rib cage. The 24-year-old hurt his left side in the fourth inning of a June 17 start against the White Sox at Pro Player Stadium.
Josh Beckett / P
Weight: 220 lbs
Bats: R / Throws: R
Based on how the rotation is shaping up, Beckett's spot in the rotation would come up on July 6. With the All-Star Game on July 13 in Houston, the July 6 game at home against the Pirates would be Beckett's only start prior to the break.
"I would just as soon that, if you're talking about an extra week, take it," McKeon said. "If it takes an extra 10-12 days, you're talking about a long career."
Beckett is serving his second DL stint. On May 31, he was sidelined with a blister to his right middle finger.
Beckett threw a light catch on Friday at Tropicana Field, just to keep his arm active. A few days ago, McKeon knew Beckett's chances of starting on Saturday, which he was hopeful of doing, were not good.
McKeon noticed how Beckett labored while throwing light catch at 60 and 90 feet.
When healthy, Beckett has tremendous arm strength, and it's evident when long-tossing from 125 feet.
Because his latest injury is to his side, Beckett runs the risk, if he rushes back, of further aggravating his lower back as well as his arm.
Michael Tejera / P
Weight: 190 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: L
Tejera ready to start: Because of injuries and inconsistencies, the Marlins have brought up five pitchers from Triple-A Albuquerque since Opening Day.
Left-hander Michael Tejera became the sixth on Friday when he was recalled to replace Beckett.
After going 6-1 with a 3.58 ERA at Albuquerque, Tejera will start on Saturday in the second game against the Devil Rays.
A member of the Marlins the past two seasons, Tejera has made 25 Major League starts, including six last year.
Tejera is 8-11 with a 5.10 ERA as a starter.
Most of his work last year was in relief.
"I like to start better, but whatever it takes," said the Cuban-born left-hander. "Right now, the opportunity is starting. To be here in the big leagues, I'll do whatever it takes. I want to help win games."
Tejera threw effectively at Albuquerque and expressed frustration about not getting called up earlier. He told the press that if he wasn't part of the Marlins' plans, he would welcome a trade.
"It was frustrating, but you can't do nothing," Tejera said. "The only thing you can do, in my case, is to pitch. They gave me the opportunity now because I was pitching well down there."
With an 88-90 mph fastball, Tejera must consistently spot his pitches and keep hitters guessing on his curveball.
"I was throwing the ball down more consistently," he said. "I was throwing the curveball better. Maybe now, I'm more consistent in the strike zone and being more aggressive in the strike zone."
McKeon on blockbuster trade: McKeon makes no bones about his belief in teams rolling the dice and making major deals when they have a chance to win it all.
The Astros greatly improved themselves Thursday by acquiring Carlos Beltran as part of a three-team deal that also involved the Royals and A's.
To bring in Beltran, a rising star center fielder, the Astros dealt closer Octavio Dotel to the A's, with the Royals receiving three minor league prospects.
"Look at the trade yesterday; probably it was a rent-a-player," McKeon said of Beltran, eligible for free agency after the season. "They gave up three pretty good players, but they want to win, which I don't have any problems with that. Win when you have a chance. This stuff of looking three or four years down the road, forget it. If you have a chance to win it, win it. We had a chance to win last year, and we went out and made those moves. This stuff about waiting for 2007, 2008 -- forget it. We'll all be fired by then. The guys saying that won't be, but we'll all be fired if we don't win."
Down on the farm: Triple-A Albuquerque upended Oklahoma, 7-3, on Thursday.
Justin Wayne, who recently was sent down by the Marlins, gave up three earned runs on five hits in three innings. Wayne is battling back from tendinitis in his right shoulder.
Derek Wathan went 3-for-5, and minor league sensation Joe Dillon was 1-for-4, giving him five hits in his last 13 at-bats.
Dillon, primarily a third baseman, has been shifted to left field and is receiving consideration to being called up.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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