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Rays turn to Hellickson against Red Sox

Jeremy Hellickson hopes to put a scary incident from earlier in the week behind him and match his brilliant season debut this afternoon when the Tampa Bay Rays continue a four-game set with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

After throwing 8 2/3 scoreless innings to beat the New York Yankees in his debut on Sunday, Hellickson was hit in the head by a ball during batting practice before Wednesday's win over the Tigers and was taken to a nearby hospital for observation.

The reigning American League Rookie of the Year, though, was given a clean bill of health and today will try to improve upon his perfect 2-0 mark at Fenway Park.

Hellickson likely won't have to face Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury this afternoon. The Red Sox outfielder hurt his right shoulder in the fourth inning while trying to break up a double play at second base. He went for an MRI and early reports are that he suffered a shoulder dislocation and could miss two months.

The Red Sox didn't need Ellsbury in Friday's home opener, as Josh Beckett tossed eight innings of one-run ball, helping Boston kick off the 100-year anniversary of Fenway Park with a 12-2 win.

Beckett (1-1) scattered five hits and walked one for Boston, which won their eighth straight home opener, the longest current winning streak for any Major League team.

"It's just what the doctor ordered," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said of Beckett's start. "...He threw great curveballs, had terrific control, threw all of his fastballs over 90 miles per hour. That's what we were hoping for."

Ellsbury, though, was all anyone wanted to talk about after the game.

"I saw the shortstop come down on his shoulder," said Valentine. "It looked very sore. He was in a lot of pain when I got there. I don't think a shoulder looks sore, does it?"

Kelly Shoppach had three hits with three runs scored, two RBI, and stole the first base of his career, while Kevin Youkilis added two hits, three RBI and a run scored for Boston, which blew the game open with an eight-run home eighth.

David Price (1-1) was chased out in the third inning after giving up three runs on four hits and three walks. He threw 83 pitches.

Today, Boston hopes righty Clay Buchholz can bounce back from an awful start to the season. After missing most of last season with back issues, Buchholz was terrible against the Tigers on Sunday, as he allowed seven runs and eight hits in just four innings. However, he did not get a decision in his team's 13-12 extra-inning loss.

"I felt really good," Buchholz said afterward. "It's just a matter of wanting to keep the ball in the park, because the wind was blowing out, and I did that, but it just seemed that every time they made contact, the ball either found a hole or was just out of the reach of somebody in the infield. It's not the way you wanted to start."

The poor outing snapped a string of 42 straight starts in which Buchholz hadn't given up more than five earned runs.

Buchholz has faced the Rays eight times and is 4-2 with a 1.81 ERA.

Tampa was 12-6 versus the Red Sox last season, with seven of those wins coming at Fenway.