Francona said that Beckett would not necessarily be scaled back in his next outing, likely Monday against Tampa Bay at home. Beckett will have a say in that decision.
He also said that Mike Lowell looks good at first base and that he will probably play third on Friday against Toronto. Lowell may also get some at-bats down at the minor league camp.
Francona had not heard about Alan Embree's outing and could not predict whether the reliever has enough time to get the work in needed to make the team breaking camp. As for Joe Nelson, who threw another scoreless inning Wednesday, Francona likes the look of the changeup, a weapon he could use to get lefties out.
As for Jeremy Farrell's home run: "I was mixed. I look over and Sue Farrell's almost standing on top of our dugout and I thought that was cool. 'OK, here's a family home run, good.' After the second one [to Delwyn Young], I was like, 'That's enough.'"
With some Popeyes chicken in hand, the Red Sox boarded the bus in a heartbeat and headed south to Fort Myers, where they will host Florida on Thursday afternoon. Tim Wakefield and Daisuke Matsuzaka will be on the mound.
Red Sox 6-4, Final: Jeremy Farrell, the son of Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell, provides a nice moment with a bomb to center off Fernando Cabrera in the ninth, one of two Pirates home runs in the frame
Apparently, several of the Farrells were behind the Red Sox dugout as a group erupted when the ball cleared the fence.
Jeremy Farrell is a 23-year-old infielder in the Pirates organization. He had a single against the Sox on Friday when he was also brought over from the minor league camp. Delwyn Young also went deep for Pittsburgh, a two-run shot that gives him six this spring.
Cabrera finally gets the last out and Boston wins for just the second time in 11 games this spring due to a strong effort by Josh Beckett, who allowed one run and struck out nine in five innings. The Sox get back at it Thursday when the Florida Marlins visit City of Palms Park for a matinee. First pitch is 1:05 p.m.
Mid 9th, Red Sox 6-1: The Pirates are down to their last three outs and they'll have to rally against Fernando Cabrera.
End 8th, Red Sox 6-1: Tommy Hottovy works the eighth inning for the Sox and gets around a two-out single.
Mike Lowell briefly addressed reporters, something he has done very little of this spring, and said he is getting used to things at first base but still has his eye on third. We may see him over there Friday against Toronto at home.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 6-1: This one is flying by. We go and hear Josh Beckett say a few words and nine outs disappear.
Heralded Red Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias legged out an infield hit in the top of the eighth but was stranded.
As for Beckett, he said getting back on a regular routine did wonders for him and he's just about ready to go for the regular season. He threw about 10 pitches in the bullpen after being taken out and got up over 95 total for the day.
Beckett said he would like to scale back next time, but just a tad, to around 90 pitches.
As for whether he will get the ball Opening Day, Beckett gave the standard reply, calling it a managerial decision. He did, however, elaborate a bit on what it feels like to get the nod.
"Yeah, it's fun," he said. "You're only the Opening Day starter once a year."
2:51 p.m.: Off to hear from Josh Beckett.
End 6th, Red Sox 6-1: Joe Nelson keeps the Pirates bats quiet in the sixth.
Nearly all of the Red Sox regulars have left this one. Just in case we missed it earlier, Mike Lowell had one neat pick of a low throw at first base and also did a capable job on a chopper with runners on.
Javier Lopez is on in relief for Pittsburgh. The one-time Boston reliever is enjoying a nice spring in Pirates camp.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 6-1: The Sox hammered away early on, but they now are using small ball to build the lead. A sacrifice fly by Bill Hall is the team's second in as many innings.
Jose Iglesias came in on the fly. He had replaced Victor Martinez as a pinch runner.
Joe Nelson is on in place of Josh Beckett, who allowed a run on three hits in five innings, striking out nine.
End 5th, Red Sox 5-1: Two more strikeouts for Josh Beckett and he is through five innings with eight K's.
That may be it for Beckett, but we will see when the Red Sox take the field in the sixth.
By the way, I caught my mistake on Josh Reddick in the last post, where I accidentally called him Jose. Hope you all had a good laugh.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 5-1: Another Josh Reddick double — his seventh of the spring — leads to a run when Jacoby Ellsbury hits a sacrifice fly.
Reddick is now hitting .421 (16-for-38).
End 4th, Red Sox 4-1: Two more strikeouts and another perfect inning for Josh Beckett, who is looking a bit more like the dominant righty we've come to trust.
Beckett had recorded six straight outs via the K before John Raynor grounded out to end the fourth.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 4-1: There were no fireworks for the Sox in the fourth as Paul Maholm finally has a clean inning.
I'm not exactly sure what Josh Beckett's pitch count is right now, but he is slated to get to around 90 today. He is out for the fourth and we will probably see another inning after that, at least.
End 3rd, Red Sox, 4-1: There was a single and a walk against Josh Beckett in the third. There were also three strikeouts.
Beckett fans the side, getting Garrett Jones with two men on to end it. He has struck out four of the last six Pirates he's faced.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 4-1: Red Sox pitchers have served up plenty of gopher balls of late, but today the Boston bats are doing the damage.
Mike Cameron stays hot in Grapefruit League play with a drive over the 370-foot sign in left-center field. It may have been aided a bit by the wind. Either way, the Red Sox have three home runs in as many innings.
Cameron is hitting .429 (12-for-28) with a pair of dingers.
End 2nd, Red Sox 3-1: Josh Beckett looks much stronger than he did the last time out here at McKechnie Field. He has a 1-2-3 second, with help from left fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who has looked extremely comfortable in his new position this spring.
Ellsbury raced in on a liner off the bat of Ramon Vazquez and snagged it inches off the ground.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 3-1: Bill Hall's power has vanished in recent years, but he showed a little in the second by popping his first home run of the spring over the wall in left.
Hall had just five hits in 31 Grapefruit League at-bats before the drive off Paul Maholm.
End 1st, Red Sox 2-1: Josh Beckett has a relatively smooth first inning after giving up a leadoff double to Aki Iwamura. The Pirates' run came in on a soft grounder that Mike Lowell handled at first.
Just to add a note to the Alan Embree line. He was pitching against Triple-A players in the Baltimore system.
Mid 1st, Red Sox 2-0: On the day we explore what Victor Martinez can bring to the Red Sox, he backs up our play with a two-run shot to left, his first jack of the spring.
The homer brought in Jacoby Ellsbury, who had singled to lead things off. Already the Sox have equaled their run total from last night in Hammond Stadium.
By the way, Alan Embree had a nice session in a minor league game today back in Fort Myers. We got news that he threw 11 of his 12 pitches for strikes, getting a strikeout, ground out and pop-up.
Embree looks very fit and is all smiles in the Boston clubhouse. His chances of making the squad look very good.
1 p.m.: One observation from nearly two weeks down here — it seems as if everyone sings along with the national anthem in Florida. Not to get all sappy, but it's kind of nice.
Then, in fitting fashion, Metallica's "Enter Sandman" is started up the second the last note of "The Star Spangled Banner" is finished. A smooth transition.
12:32 p.m.: Dustin Pedroia is expecting to be back in the Red Sox lineup soon after X-rays showed no damage to his left wrist, manager Terry Francona said earlier.
Good news for the Sox as it appears to be a minor issue.
For those of you itching to watch a few of the youngsters, keep your eye on Josh Reddick. Many likely remember him from a short stint in Boston last season, but few have seen him rake like he has this spring.
Reddick has been a bit more selective, making progress on the one knock against him. He enters McKechnie Field hitting .417 with six doubles, one triple and one home run.
Also making the trip north today is shortstop prospect Jose Iglesias. Hopefully we will see him flash some leather a little later on after Bill Hall gets another start at the position. Hall has gotten a long look at shortstop the past week or so as Jed Lowrie is nowhere near returning from mono and depth at the position must be determined.
Hall had two errors two days ago in Jupiter.
11:46 a.m.: Greetings from McKechnie Field, where the wind is blowing in very hard but there is barely a cloud in the sky and the country music is turned up as the Red Sox take fielding practice.
The lineups have been posted and look like this, first for the Red Sox:
Jacoby Ellsbury, LF
Mike Cameron, CF
Victor Martinez, C
Mike Lowell, 1B
Jeremy Hermida, DH
Bill Hall, SS
Tug Hulett, 2B
Josh Reddick, RF
Jorge Jimenez, 3B
Aki Iwamura, 2B
Ronny Cedeno, SS
Lastings Milledge, LF
Garrett Jones, RF
Bobby Crosby, 1B
Ramon Vazquez, 3B
John Raynor, CF
Jason Jaramillo, C
Paul Maholm, SP
7:40 a.m.: Josh Beckett had a scratchy throat and was coming off several days of being bedridden the last time he traveled to Bradenton to face the Pittsburgh Pirates. The results were not great.
Beckett's next start takes place Wednesday, again at McKechnie Field, as the Red Sox meet the Pirates in a matinee, the final game between the two teams this spring.
In a 9-7 loss to Pittsburgh last Friday, Beckett surrendered four runs on six hits in 3 1/3 innings. It was his first outing in a span of 11 days as he battled a bug which kept him away from Red Sox camp.
Beckett insisted that after what he had been through, just getting to a pitch count of 70 was critical for his progress. Expect to see him reach a bit closer to 90 in this one.
Boston is 1-9 in its last 10 games.
Pittsburgh starts southpaw Paul Maholm.