Notes: Colon has successful session

Notes: Colon has successful session

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- With several reporters and cameras serving as the audience, Bartolo Colon had a successful first bullpen session on Monday morning at City of Palms Park.

The 42-pitch, 11-minute workout off the mound in the left-field bullpen served as an important step toward a return to game action sometime this month.

"He'll have a bullpen again on Wednesday," pitching coach John Farrell said. "At that point, we'll evaluate when BP will be next for him. He's making very solid progress as far as progression as it's outlined."

Staying in the full windup the entire time, Colon threw all fastballs and changeups to catcher Doug Mirabelli.

"For not being on the mound for three-and-a-half weeks, I thought he threw the ball to both sides of the plate," said Farrell, who alternated watching Colon from the side and in back of the mound. "He followed the glove well, he got through his front side to allow him to really carry the fastball through the zone. I'd say there were a few pitches that approached 90 [mph] -- I think a very good day for him."

Colon is at least one bullpen and a batting practice session away from game action. The 34-year-old had expressed a desire to pitch on March 9 against the Dodgers in Vero Beach. But a more conservative plan would have him debut against Cincinnati at City of Palms on March 15, with two more bullpen sessions more likely to allow him to introduce his breaking pitches.

"I know that's something he's on record as saying," Farrell said of Colon's March 9 target date. "I think the one thing we have to do is take this session by session before getting too far ahead of ourselves, but there's no reason to think the 15th [can't] be a definite possibility at this point. Whether we look to quicken that timeframe, that will be decided later this week."

Colon, who is coming back from right elbow inflammation, hasn't pitched in a game since throwing 4 1/3 innings in the Caribbean Series in early February. Farrell said the right-hander is showing no ill effects and was throwing from at least 180 feet in long toss on Monday morning prior to his bullpen session.

"I think long-toss has been a huge part of his overall program," Farrell said. "The previous throwing sessions have been out to 120 [feet]. He's made several requests to get out further. His arm strength looks to be solid at this point.

"Until we get into actual live situations, we'll get a much better and more accurate read on where he's at as far as readiness for the regular season. At this point I think the progress that's been made is very positive."

Second time around: For the second time in as many starts, Josh Beckett threw against a team that was less than Major League caliber. But Beckett came away from his three-inning stint feeling like he accomplished what he set out to do.

Beckett, in a "B" game start against Minnesota on Monday morning at City of Palms, allowed two hits and one unearned run on his own error, walking one and striking out five. He also hit one batter.

"I think I've gotten the same out of both of them," said Beckett, who started last Thursday against Boston College. "I've pitched in games during the season with that many people in it, unfortunately. I thought I threw the ball really well today. I was still a little too strong in the first inning, leaving some balls up, but I got bailed out with some good defensive plays."

After laboring through a 26-pitch first inning, Beckett came back to retire six of the next seven batters he faced, finishing the day by throwing 57 pitches, 35 for strikes.

"It was really good today," Beckett said of his outing. "Changeup and curveball were really good. I think those were my two strongest pitches today as far as location and action on them."

"He's real strong right now," added Brad Mills, who was managing the "B" team. "He was starting to overthrow a little bit. He got his work in and he throwing well now."

Mills got the managing job for the "B" squad since Terry Francona went with the regulars to Jupiter, where the Sox were playing the Marlins.

Left fielder Joe Thurston singled home a run in the fourth and tripled and scored on a passed ball in the sixth as the Red Sox and Twins played to a 2-2 tie. David Aardsma allowed the other run in the fourth while Mike Timlin, Edgar Martinez and Hunter Jones each pitched a scoreless inning of relief. Michael Bowden threw two scoreless innings in relief.

Stretching out: Miles away from Sox camp, Kyle Snyder, like Colon, had something to prove. The lanky right-hander pitched three shutout innings against the Marlins, allowing two hits and a walk.

"I feel like my body's starting to accept longer outings," Snyder said. "I got through 29 or 30 pitches, and I still felt good."

He threw 29 pitches, to be exact, which is no small feat for someone who spent all of last season in the bullpen. This year, Snyder entered camp with designs on starting -- and possibly even snagging a spot in the rotation.

"I look at it that way," Snyder said. "For me to get in that competitive mindset, no matter if I'm competing against guys on the team for a certain role or a position, or I'm just out there competing against guys I'm facing on a given day, it's where I need to be."

Injury notes: Outfielder Coco Crisp is suffering from a sore groin, according to Francona, and won't play in Tuesday's game against the Pirates. He shouldn't miss any additional time. Shortstop Julio Lugo reported soreness in his back, and also won't play on Tuesday.

Up next: The Red Sox play Pittsburgh in the first of four straight Grapefruit League home games at City of Palms Park, as Daisuke Matsuzaka heads to the hill while the Pirates counter with former Red Sox No. 1 pick Phil Dumatrait. Jonathan Papelbon and Julian Tavarez are also scheduled to see action on the mound in the 1:05 p.m. ET contest.

Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.