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Beckett, Colon show progress

Beckett, Colon show progress

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- While pitchers Josh Beckett and Bartolo Colon both worked out at the Red Sox's Minor League complex on Thursday, only one -- Colon -- left camp to join the Sox on the West Coast.

Colon, who worked out in the morning at the complex, playing catch, boarded a bus with the Class A Lancaster JetHawks for a charter flight across the country, where he will meet up with the Sox in Los Angeles. He is scheduled to pitch Friday, the opening game of a three-game exhibition set with the Dodgers this weekend.

Beckett, meanwhile, started a Minor League game, going four scoreless innings for the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs against Minnesota's New Britain Rock Cats. Beckett threw 47 pitches, allowing one hit -- an infield single -- and no walks, with six strikeouts. He threw nine pitches in the first inning, eight in the second, 20 in the third, and 10 in the fourth.

"Colon got on the flight this morning and he's on his way to L.A. He'll be pitching tomorrow," said Sox Minor League pitching coordinator Ralph Treuel, who has been monitoring the pitchers' workouts at the complex.

"Josh did well today," Treuel said. "He threw four innings, 47 pitches, and threw the ball really well. He felt really good about himself. Gave up one hit, struck out six, no walks. Just another part of the process for him getting ready for his next outing."

Beckett, who turns 28 in May, was 20-7 with a 3.27 ERA last season and was the Majors' only 20-game winner. He is working his way back from back spasms that scratched him from his March 8 Grapefruit League start against the Marlins. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, retroactive to March 19. He is eligible to come off the DL on April 3, Boston's off-day between series in Oakland and Toronto.

Beckett's next start is expected to be April 1 at the complex. With most organizations' Minor League teams breaking camp next week, Treuel said Beckett would probably pitch in an intrasquad game. Then, the team hopes, he could join the big league club in Toronto, where the Sox play a three-game series from April 4-6.

"The best-case scenario is he can pitch the last day in Toronto," manager Terry Francona said. "For me, it's good, because he's healthy. He's not limping around. Everything is going great, which is why there's not a lot of anxiety from that standpoint."

Red Sox players who attended the optional workout at Dodger Stadium on Thursday afternoon greeted the news with relief.

"That's great to hear that he threw well and without pain," second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. "He's your ace and you want to get him back out there as soon as possible."

The right-hander is expected to work out at the complex Friday morning as part of his regular day-after-a-start routine.

Colon, the 2005 American League Cy Young Award winner, was 6-8 with a 6.34 ERA in 19 appearances, 18 starts, for the Angels last season. Colon, who will be 35 in May, signed a Minor League contract with the Sox in February and is in contention for a rotation spot.

Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com. Contributor John Klima contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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