Josh Beckett is expected to start tonight for the Boston Red Sox against the Cleveland Indians. (Nam Y. Huh / AP)

If it’s not video games, fried chicken and beer in the clubhouse during games, it’s golf.

The newest controversy swirling about the Boston Red Sox involves pitcher Josh Beckett playing a round of golf the day after missing a start because of a strained latissimus muscle behind his right shoulder.

Manager Bobby Valentine called the missed start “precautionary” and said he hadn’t had a chance to speak to his pitcher, who had returned to Boston, as starting pitchers do, ahead of the team. Beckett is expected to start tonight against the Indians in Fenway Park.

“Golf is as much a part of the pitching culture as the curveball, I know that for sure,” Valentine said in an interview with WEEI. “Again, I don’t know the specifics of this situation. I don’t know if he was out in a charity match and just putting or if he was wailing away or if he felt that might have loosened him up. I have no idea what the situation actually is so it’s hard for me to comment on it.

“If that was the case [and Beckett was driving the ball], I would say that was less than the best thing to do on the day off.”

Clay Buchholz, who reportedly was Beckett’s playing partner, refused to comment to the Boston Globe. “I’m not going to talk about any of that stuff,” he said.

The matter is particularly controversial because the Red Sox were forced to use outfielder Darnell McDonald as a pitcher in their 17-inning loss to Baltimore on Sunday. Just what the 12-18 Red Sox, last in the American League East, need: more controversy.

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