By Sean McAdam
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Four days after being struck in the head by a ball, Josh Beckett continues to make progress toward returning to the Red Sox' rotation.
Beckett will throw a three-inning simulated game Friday with an eye toward pitching Tuesday against Houston at City of Palms Park.
"He's going to have a pretty much normal day today,'' said Francona. "He feels real good. He's going to be re-evaluated and as long as everything goes OK, he will throw a three-inning simulated up-and-down session in the bullpen Friday and that will keep going toward his next start.
"He'll stay right on his progression, keep his arm strength. He's not facing hitters, but it's kind of the next best thing. It's under a controlled environment, which I think we're comfortable with.''
With Beckett cleared and on his way back to full health, the Red Sox had some fun with the fungo incident which led to his minor concussion.
First, as teammates stretched, Beckett was the last player onto the field at City of Palms Park, and came wearing a white T-shirt over his uniform -- the better,presumably -- for everyone to see him.
Later, the players outfitted staff member Ino Guerrero -- responsible for the mishap thanks to a wayward fungo -- in a neon-colored crossing guard vest and a bright yellow hat.
Bobby Jenks was set to make his Grapefruit League debut. Francona said Jenks and Daniel Bard will sometimes go back-and-forth between the seventh and eighth innings, with no one pitcher assigned to a specific inning.
"We'll go by matchups, availability, usage, who we're facing -- there's a lot of different things,'' said Francona. "How rested the bullpen, how far the starter goes, how far the starter went the day before. But there's no secret - if the game's on the line and he's rested, we want Bard to pitch. That's a weapon. But you can't do that every day.''
The Sox are still waiting on official word on Brent Dlugach, who suffered a dislocated left shoulder Tuesday when he fell, charging a pop bunt.
Dlugach underwent an MRI Wednesday, but the team had to send the test results back to Boston to be properly read.
Felix Doubront, who was shut down almost two weeks ago with soreness in his left elbow, is inching closer to being able to throw again. He's been going through the motions of his delivery in the bullpen.
Doubront is evaluated every day and will be seen by Dr. Tom Gill Friday.
Francona indicated that the Sox are still a week away from their first spring roster cuts. The Red Sox want to get through some split-squad days in the next week -- requiring extra bodies -- before sending anyone out. Also, because minor-league games don't start until the middle of the month, there isn't much point in returning players to the minor-league camp.