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Beckett progressing

Posted by Nick Cafardo, Globe Staff  May 15, 2007 04:44 PM

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Josh Beckett played catch and actually threw off a mound today according to Terry Francona, who said he was encouraged by Beckett's recovery. Francona said Beckett will see a hand specialist sometime today.

Francona said "regardless of whether he pitches on Friday (vs. Atlanta) he thought the separated skin on the middle finger is regenerating nicely.

If Beckett can't go, the Sox may dip into their farm system for a starter for Friday's game. That could be anyone from Kason Gabbard to Devern Hansack to Who Knows?

Jon Lester will throw a side session tomorrow as he continued to work his way back to Pawtucket after suffering cramping in his left forearm.

Terry Francona thinks John Smoltz will make his scheduled start against the Red Sox on Saturday. "I think he's OK," Francona said. "If I know anything about Smoltz he will pitch." The Braves have not made an official announcement, but Smoltz has told Bobby Cox he wants to go despite suffering a fractured pinky on his right hand in his last start...

Lots of Doug Mirabelli talk before the game. He's catching Tim Wakefield tonight. Mirabelli re-dedicated himself to conditioning during the the off season and the results have paid off with better mobility behind the plate and a good stroke at the plate (.280, 2HR, 4 RBI)...

Daisuke Matsuzaka's complete game came in his eighth major league start last night, came in the fewest number of starts ever for a Japanese-born pitcher. Hideo Nomo of the Dodgers went the route to defeat SF in his 11th big league start on June 24, 1995. That was the first of four complete games in his rookie season...

Julio Lugo has 23 RBI which matches the Mets' Jose Reyes for the most leadoff RBIs in the majors...

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