Beckett all set for Sunday

Beckett all set for Sunday

TORONTO -- Red Sox Nation can breathe a little easier with the news that the ace of Boston's pitching staff is officially back with the club.

Josh Beckett rejoined his teammates in Toronto on Friday, and he has been named the starting pitcher for Sunday's series finale against the Blue Jays.

The 27-year-old right-hander has been on the disabled list since March 19 with tightness in his lower back, and he's now healthy enough to make his 2008 debut. He was given the official go-ahead after throwing a pain-free bullpen session at the team's Minor League complex in Fort Myers, Fla., just prior to making the trip north.

"He's all set," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "He did his side in Florida. ... He did his stuff all there, felt good and he's good to go."

Beckett's final rehab outing came on Tuesday. He went five innings, allowing just one run on two hits and no walks. He struck out six and threw 47 of his 64 pitches for strikes.

His return will be a major boon to Boston's rotation. Last season, Beckett was the Major Leagues' only 20-game winner as he finished 20-7 with a 3.27 ERA.

But Beckett's first appearance won't be an easy one. He'll be matched up against Jays ace Roy Halladay, who has won 16 games in each of the past two seasons.

Gregor Chisholm is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.