Beckett could return after next rehab start

Beckett could return after next rehab start

BOSTON -- Ready for his start with Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday in Syracuse, Josh Beckett and the rest of the Red Sox are hoping it will be his last before rejoining the team.

"If he is ready to come back and pitch he will; if not, he won't and we will let him have another," manager Terry Francona said. "The plan is to throw maybe 85 pitches and if all goes terrific, he can come back and take his slot with us."

"If we all feel like he needs another one then we will do that, but we want to evaluate it after he pitches."

On Sunday, Beckett pitched four innings for Pawtucket, giving up one run on two hits, while striking out four and walking none. Beckett also threw a simulated game in St. Petersburg on July 6.

Beckett has been on the disabled list since May 19 with a lower back strain.

"The last start went good. It feels good. I threw a side [session Tuesday], so I'm kind of just on the building-up stage now," Beckett said. "I'm not trying to take it slow. We're definitely trying to accelerate the best we can, but the building-up part is basically like Spring Training. You can't go too fast or you end up going backwards."

Beckett said he felt a little tired during Sunday's game, but felt good the next day. Beckett threw a majority of cutters and sliders because he said it felt better than his curveball, which he didn't think was his best.

He is most excited by the fact that when he comes in the day after he pitches, he knows that he can play catch and not worry about limitations and what he can and cannot do.

"It's tough to sit in that trainer's room for four, six weeks and watch guys, some guys go down with you," Beckett said. "That one road trip seemed to really be bad. It's tough. For the most part, we've held our own with the things we've had going on."