Red Sox ace Josh Beckett could be back after the All-Star Break, the Providence Journal 's Dan Barbarisi writes .
Beckett threw on Wednesday and was unusually upbeat.
"I've been better, mood and everything," Beckett told reporters after his session. "It's tough when you've got no light at the end of the tunnel. Every day you come in and there's no [purpose] -- what am I getting ready for? That's where it gets tough. You come in and you're the first guy here. You get your stuff out of the way so you're not in the way of the other players. You just sit around. It' s a lot of downtime."
Beckett has had plenty of downtime since mid-May suffering from lower back and lat injuries.
Beckett threw 55 pitches on Wednesday, using all his pitches. He is expected to throw three simulated innings Saturday and will face hitters next Thursday on the Red Sox's day off.
Boston manager Terry Francona told reporters Beckett would need several rehab starts in the minor leagues.
"Three or four is probably realistic," Francona said. "Whatever he needs. We're not going to short-cut it because we don't short-cut anyone. Whatever is in his best interest, we'll do. Some of it depends on how he's doing. We also don't want him to pitch for the PawSox all year if he can help it."
Jacoby Ellsbury is also expected to return around the All-Star break.
-- C. Trent Rosecrans
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