Beckett slated to start Friday

BOSTON -- Barring any unforeseen setbacks in the side session he plans to throw Tuesday, Josh Beckett is scheduled to return to the Red Sox rotation on Friday in Seattle, according to Boston manager Terry Francona.

Beckett has been out since May 18, when he slipped on a wet mound in Yankee Stadium and strained his back.

"I think as far as the buildup of stuff, I'm where I need to be," Beckett said Sunday. "Obviously, I can't make that decision all by myself. We'll see where it goes from there. As far as I'm concerned, I think I'm ready to start Friday, but that's not the end all, be all. They [the team] will obviously have a huge say in that."

Beckett said he felt good in his rehab start Saturday in Syracuse, in which he threw 81 pitches and allowed three runs and five hits in four-plus innings.

"Good. Real good," Beckett said when asked how the start went. "I actually thought statistically my worst inning was probably the best I felt [referring to the fourth]. Just with the game coming to me and not rushing and overthrowing and stuff like that.

"I feel like I've been on a normal schedule with the sides and the lifting and stuff like that. It's getting back to normal. I need to get to where I can make the adjustments from pitch to pitch instead of pitch to every three pitches."

On the prospect of starting in Seattle, Beckett said, "That's something that we've discussed. But like I said, and I told them, from my standpoint as far as the buildup goes, I felt like … you know, I threw 80 pitches yesterday and I felt like I still had gas in the tank. Obviously, we're building up. You don't want to push the envelope too much."

Beckett is 1-1 with a 7.29 ERA in eight starts with Boston this season.

Gordon Edes is ESPNBoston.com's Red Sox reporter. He has covered the Red Sox for 12 years and has reported on baseball for 25 years. Ask a question for his next mailbag here.