Beckett leaves with ‘mild’ knee strain

Posted July 08, 2011, at 9:37 p.m.

BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox say pitcher Josh Beckett slightly hyperextended his left knee on the wet mound at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox pulled Beckett after the fifth inning against Baltimore on Friday night, calling it a precautionary move.

Boston already has three starters on the disabled list and doesn’t want to take any chances with Beckett, who was selected to the American League All-Star team. It was not immediately clear whether Beckett would be available for the All-Star game Tuesday.

Beckett was having problems with the wet dirt in the fifth after steady rain fell early in the game. The Red Sox were ahead 8-3 and brought in reliever Matt Albers to start the sixth inning.

Earlier on Friday, the Red Sox are recalled right-hander Kyle Weiland from Triple-A to start in place of John Lester on Sunday and make his major league debut against the Baltimore Orioles.

Weiland will become the ninth starter used this season by Boston, which has lost Daisuke Matsuzaka for the year with Tommy John surgery and has Lester and fellow starter Clay Buchholz on the disabled list.

The 24-year-old Weiland has won his last three starts for Pawtucket and is 8-6 overall with a 3.00 ERA.

“It’s his day. He’s lined up for it. He’s really been doing well,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said before Friday night’s game against the Orioles. “As much as kind of has gone wrong with some (of the team’s) health, this is the flip side where it’s really exciting. I’m kind of looking forward to it.”

Alfredo Aceves, who pitched two quick innings of relief Thursday night, was considered, but Francona likes having him in the bullpen. Veteran Kevin Millwood, also at Pawtucket, was mentioned but Weiland got the nod.

“This kid’s lined up and he’s been pretty hot,” the manager said. “I’d like to send him out there and see how he does.”

Weiland, who was with Boston in spring training, has 99 strikeouts in 93 innings, with 18 coming in his last two outings. He has allowed four earned runs in 19 2-3 innings during his winning streak and opponents are batting just .206 against him for the season.

“He throws hard,” Francona said. “He’s got a live arm – he always has. He’s starting to command, I think he’s competing and he’s just starting to mature as a pitcher.”

A third-round draft pick in 2008 and the all-time saves leader at Notre Dame, Weiland was 15-21 in the minor leagues before this season.

He will have to be added to the 40-man roster, but the Red Sox have an open spot after designating outfielder Mike Cameron for assignment and then trading him to the Florida Marlins.

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