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Red Sox Notebook

Beckett satisfied with one number

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / March 20, 2010

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BRADENTON, Fla. — That he allowed four runs on six hits and two walks over 3 1/3 innings against the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates yesterday did not matter much to Josh Beckett.

That he managed to throw 69 pitches is what counted.

“That was the most important number for me,’’ said Beckett, who missed his last start because of an illness that put him in bed for the better part of four days.

A hoarse Beckett said he is well enough to return to his four-day routine between starts.

“I think the last time I was 100 percent, I was 16 years old,’’ he said. “If we’re looking for 100 percent, I think I might make two starts this season.’’

The Red Sox have not announced their Opening Day starter, but Beckett is lined up to take the ball April 4 against the Yankees at Fenway Park.

“We’re working toward that,’’ he said. “But spring training is no different from the season. You have to take it one day at a time, one pitch at a time.’’

In a game the Red Sox lost, 9-7, Beckett took a 3-2 lead into the fourth inning. He then walked Andy LaRoche before Delwyn Young lined a home run to right field. It was Young’s fifth home run in his last six games.

“I don’t really feel like I was completely prepared for this start,’’ Beckett said. “I went out there and did what I had to do.’’

There were 27 hits, 13 for extra bases on a windy day at McKechnie Field as the Sox lost their fifth straight.

David Ortiz and Jeremy Hermida had home runs, and Josh Reddick was 2 for 4 to raise his spring average to .438.

Westmoreland better
Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland, the 19-year-old outfielder who had brain surgery Tuesday, was moved out of intensive care yesterday.

Robert Spetzler, who performed the surgery in Arizona, informed the team that Westmoreland was moved to the neuro rehabilitation unit of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, where he will undergo physical and occupational therapy.

Westmoreland had a malformation of weakened blood vessels repaired.

“Ryan is right on track and we expect progressive improvement,’’ Spetzler said in a team release.

“We are thrilled for Ryan and his family that the surgery went so well,’’ general manager Theo Epstein said. “While we recognize that the recovery process is long and complicated, we are excited that all of the early indications are so positive.’’

Dice, Dice, baby
Daisuke Matsuzaka returned to Boston Thursday for the birth of his third child. He was back in Fort Myers, Fla., to throw a 44-pitch bullpen session yesterday. The righthander, who has yet to appear in a game this spring because of back and neck pain, is scheduled to pitch two innings in a minor league game tomorrow . . . Jeremy Farrell, the son of Sox pitching coach John Farrell, was added to the Pittsburgh roster for the game. The 23-year-old infielder singled in the eighth inning against Jorge Sosa and played four innings at third base . . . Jacoby Ellsbury, who has not played since Sunday because of illness, is expected to be in the lineup today against Baltimore . . . Shortstop Gil Velazquez fractured a bone in his left thumb diving for a ball Tuesday and will miss at least six weeks. . . . Non-roster outfielder Darnell McDonald is out with a strained muscle in his ribcage . . . John Lackey will pitch in a minor league game Monday so the coaching staff can get a better look at Boof Bonser, who will start against the Rays at Fort Myers.

Amalie Benjamin of the Globe staff contributed to this report. Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com.

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