Valentine expecting strong outing from Beckett

Valentine expecting strong outing from Beckett

SEATTLE -- The Red Sox will get a vital piece to their rotation back on Saturday night, when Josh Beckett returns from the disabled list and pitches against the Mariners.

The righty last pitched on June 11 against the Marlins before being shut down with shoulder inflammation.

At the time the Red Sox decided to put Beckett on the DL, they mentioned he was having some strength deficit issues in his shoulder as well as inflammation.

Did the time off fix all those issues?

"It's hard for me to tell," said manager Bobby Valentine. "I think he's better than he was, and he was pretty good when he stopped pitching."

In Beckett's last start on June 11, he gave up four runs in the first inning but didn't give up a hit over his last five frames.

For the season, he is 4-7 with a 4.14 ERA in 12 starts. Beckett has pitched better than his numbers indicate. His win total can be partially attributed to the fact he has the lowest run-support average (4.71) of anyone on the staff with at least 10 starts. Beckett's ERA is inflated by two starts he got shelled in -- one in Detroit, the other at Fenway against the Indians.

"Well, if he's healthy, I expect a good performance," Valentine said. "It seems like he's very healthy and has good spirits. Josh is a great pitcher. I expect him to go out there and give us a good outing."