Beckett hurls unexpected 'pen session

Beckett hurls unexpected bullpen

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox ace Josh Beckett, who was not expected to pitch from a mound until Thursday, had a 45-pitch bullpen session Wednesday morning at City of Palms Park before the team's game against the Blue Jays.

Beckett did not appear in a Grapefruit League game this spring. He pitched against Boston College and a Twins "B" squad and was set to face the Marlins on March 8, when back spasms during his warmup tosses scratched him from the game.

Beckett played long toss in the outfield before moving to the bullpen mound, his first time throwing from a mound since March 8, a development that pleased Sox pitching coach John Farrell.

"In Beckett's bullpen this morning, he proved that there were no restrictions when he got on the mound," Farrell said. "He went through his 45-pitch bullpen today, and surprisingly the arm strength hasn't suffered that much of a setback. Granted, it was just a bullpen. But I think the first step toward his game progression will likely go through another bullpen."

Farrell said Beckett will likely get into a Minor League game Sunday.

"As well as he felt the other day after long toss [on Monday], we decided to take [Tuesday] as a day off and then for him to throw the 'pen today," Farrell said. "This will enable him one more bullpen before the tentative game schedule would start on Sunday."

Beckett was 20-7 with a 3.27 ERA last season, the Majors' only 20-game winner.

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