Progress for Matsuzaka, Lowell

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona had positive reports on the injury front Monday, saying left fielder Mike Cameron showed no ill effects from tweaking his groin and that pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka (long toss) and third baseman Mike Lowell (live batting practice) had encouraging sessions.

Cameron, who had to cut his workout short Sunday after he tweaked his left groin muscle, did not participate in outfield drills Monday but sprinted about 100 yards and was able to hit and throw with no problems. Afterward, he said there was a big improvement from Sunday.

"He felt better," Francona said. "We're just trying to continue that progression, but he's improved."

Matsuzaka, whose throwing schedule was delayed by a mild back strain, had a productive session Monday. The right-hander played long toss at 180 to 200 feet and finished up his program on the mound.

The mound work was easy as he's only working on throwing at an angle where the catcher is upright.

"Dice had a great day. He ended up getting real aggressive," Francona said. "It was about a good of a day as you can have. I don't think you could throw the ball like that and not be totally healthy.

"We'll start thinking about the end of the week getting him some real mound work where he's throwing some sides, and throwing to some hitters, but it was a really good day."

Matsuzaka spoke briefly after he finished his morning workout, saying his back feels good. He threw between 25 and 30 pitches off the mound.

"It was more getting the balance and getting the arm ready," he said.

Lowell, who is working his way back after offseason thumb surgery, took live batting practice in the cage Monday morning for the first time this spring. After he finished the three-round session of 15 pitches each in the batting cage, Lowell said it went "awesome."

He declined to elaborate in the clubhouse afterward.

"He hit live in the cage and it sounds like it went real well," Francona said. "He'll come out tomorrow and hit on the field. I'm sure at some point we'll have to build in days off, depending on how he's feeling. He had a good day, so that's encouraging."

There is still no timetable when Lowell will be able to return to full baseball activities.

"I don't know and that's as honest as I can be," Francona said. "I'm sure when Mikey swings the bat like that he'll get excited. There has to be a progression, not only with his thumb, but running the bases and repeating some things. I don't think we can put a timetable on it, yet. I don't think it'll be in the next five or six days, I don't think that's realistic. I'm not sure that's in his best interest."

Joe McDonald covers the Red Sox and Bruins for ESPNBoston.com. Follow him on Twitter.