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Sox iffy on Beckett in Japan

Posted by Dan Shaughnessy, Globe Staff  March 9, 2008 11:27 AM

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VERO BEACH, Fla. -- It's a chilly morning in Dodgertown and the Red Sox arrived at the ballpark at 10 a.m. This is the Sox' final trip to the legendary facility which will be vacated by the Dodgers next spring. The Orioles are reported to be coming here next.

Larry King was the first face most of the Sox saw when they got off the bus. Larry's here with his young son, who was getting autographs.

Sox manager Terry Francona had a good report on Josh Beckett, who left Saturday's game with back spasms after throwing six warm-up pitches. The manager said Beckett "looked way better than we expected,'' but would not commit as to whether Beckett would be ready for the opener in Japan.

Meanwhile, back in Fort Myers Bartolo Colon threw 43 pitches in two simulated innings and is now scheduled for a start at City of Palms Park Thursday against Tampa Bay.

The Sox flew to Vero this morning, and Francona said the flight took 23 minutes. They are flying back after the game, and will fly over here against for tomorrow's game against the Mets in Port St. Lucie. Francona said he appreciated ownership's willingness to spend money for the flights.

Today's Sox lineup:

Jed Lowrie - SS
Alex Cora - 2B
David Ortiz -- DH
Manny Ramirez - LF
Mike Lowell - 3B
J. D. Drew - RF
Sean Casey - 1B
Doug Mirabelli - C
Joe Thurston - CF

Daisuke Matsuzaka - P

No Dodger lineup yet

The inimitable Dr. Charles Steinberg is wearing his Dodger blue and has scheduled a pre-game ceremony featuring the great Vin Scully.

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