ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Boston Red Sox are coming out of the All-Star game with encouraging reports on pitcher Josh Beckett and outfielder Carl Crawford.
Crawford is set to return from a strained left hamstring on Monday, manager Terry Francona said during Boston’s off-day workout Thursday. Crawford will begin a two-game minor league rehab assignment at Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday.
“He’ll travel on Sunday to Baltimore and barring any setbacks” rejoin the Red Sox when they open a three-game series against the Orioles, Francona said.
Beckett was scratched from the All-Star game after feeling soreness in his left knee while warming up in the bullpen. The right-hander remains scheduled to start Sunday’s game at Tampa Bay.
Beckett went just five innings in his last start against Baltimore July 8 after he slightly hyperextended his knee on the wet mound at Fenway Park.
“I’m pretty confident he’ll pitch Sunday,” Francona said. “If for some reason he can’t, we’ll back him up a couple days. I’ve got a feeling that’s going to the worse-case scenario, which is good. I don’t think that is going to happen.”
Beckett is scheduled for a bullpen session Friday.
Also, lefthander Jon Lester, sidelined because of a strained muscle in his back, played catch in Boston at 60 feet.
“All went really well,” Francona said.
NOTES: The Red Sox signed their second-round draft pick, OF Williams Jerez, and assigned him to their Gulf Coast League rookie-level club. Jerez is a former member of Hank’s Yanks, an 18-and-under baseball team sponsored by New York Yankees’ co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner. He hit .692 this season at Brooklyn’s Grand Street Campus High School.