ST. PETERSBURG -- One way or another, Red Sox ace Josh Beckett will pitch on Tuesday afternoon against Gulf Coast hitters in the state of Florida. The question is whether it will be at noon ET in an actual game in Sarasota, Fla., or at Tropicana Field at 2:30 p.m.
There is rain in the forecast for Tuesday, which might lead to the GCL game getting postponed. If that is the case, Beckett will face hitters from the Gulf Coast League in a simulated game environment at the Trop, which has a roof.
This will be Beckett's first game environment since May 18, the night he strained his lower back while pitching on a wet mound at Yankee Stadium.
Of late, Beckett has had a noticeable bounce in his step, unlike a few weeks ago, when he seemed visibly down about not being able to contribute.
"Yeah. That's good," said manager Terry Francona. "When he's had problems pitching, there's times where he's been sort of on the borderline. When he goes out there and knows that he's OK, I can see a difference in his delivery."
Beckett's next start is likely to be Sunday in a Minor League game. Triple-A Pawtucket is home that day against Syracuse, so that is a possible option.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.