Beckett prepares for intrasquad start

Beckett prepares for intrasquad start

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox ace Josh Beckett continues to progress as he makes his way back from lower back tightness that landed him on the disabled list. Beckett played catch for about 10 minutes and worked on his conditioning Monday morning at the Sox's Minor League complex.

Beckett, who is eligible to come off the DL Thursday -- Boston's off-day between series in Oakland and Toronto -- is scheduled to start an intrasquad game Tuesday morning at the complex.

"Josh did his normal day-four work before a start," said Sox Minor League pitching coordinator Ralph Treuel, who has been monitoring Beckett's work at the complex. "He went out and played catch, got his conditioning in, and he's ready to pitch tomorrow.

"It's going to be an intrasquad game with extended spring players. We'll try to get him up and down about five times and get him up to 65 pitches."

Because the organization's Double-A and Triple-A teams have already left camp, with most players arriving at their destinations Monday, Beckett, who was 20-7 with a 3.27 ERA last season, will pitch Tuesday morning in an intrasquad game made up primarily of Class A and extended spring players who are still working out at the complex.

Beckett, who has been throwing all of his pitches, went four scoreless innings in a Minor League start Thursday for the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs against Minnesota's New Britain Rock Cats. In that outing, he threw 47 pitches, 33 for strikes, allowing one hit and no walks with six strikeouts.

Beckett was scratched from his March 8 Grapefruit League start against the Marlins after experiencing back spasms during his warmup. He was placed on the 15-day DL on March 19.

The righty said Friday the back and right hip pain he had been experiencing have subsided and that he is healthy, saying it was just a matter of getting his arm strong and stretched out to where he can endure the workload of being in the rotation.

Although Beckett has had several stints on the DL in his career -- including last season when he missed two starts in May after tearing the skin on his right middle finger -- he has never started a season on the DL -- until now. Although that is causing him some frustration, Beckett understands the team's approach to his rehab.

"It is [frustrating], but at the same time, I know what we're trying to do," Beckett said. "It's not my first go-round. I know it's a long season. Like I said two weeks ago, the most important thing is not my April 1 start, [and] it's not my April 10 start. I think exactly what I said [is], 'It's not my April 10 start, it's my July and August starts.'

"I know what we're trying to do. We're not trying to win one game here or one game there. We're trying to do bigger things than that."

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