BOSTON -- The Red Sox continue to be conservative with regards to the rehab program of injured ace Josh Beckett, as manager Terry Francona revealed Wednesday that the righty probably won't resume throwing again for about 10 days.

Realistically, that would seem to indicate that the earliest Beckett would be back in the rotation is the latter portion of June.

Beckett has been out since May 19 with a lower back strain. He threw an abbreviated side session on Friday, but had a hard time repeating his delivery. That was when the club decided that things needed to slow down, or else Beckett could risk injuries that went beyond his back.

"We sat down with him today," Francona said. "We wanted to spend some time with him where things weren't rushed. We're going to slow him down a little bit. By that, probably, I don't know if we're going to have a firm timetable, but probably about 10 days."

It has been a tough season for Beckett, who is 1-1 with a 7.29 ERA. Though the Red Sox still expect big things from him, they don't think that rushing him back is going to do anyone any good.

"What we talked about the other day in the bullpen, the inconsistencies in his delivery, all of a sudden, when he's doing that, we're running into some lat discomfort, which we're not comfortable with," Francona said. "We lean on this guy too much, and we need to. So until we can completely get back where he's going through his delivery, we're going to make him take it easy."

Beckett wasn't available for comment before Wednesday's game against the Oakland Athletics. Tim Wakefield will again pitch in Beckett's spot on Thursday, and for the foreseeable future.

"I think [Beckett] understands it," Francona said. "I don't think he probably loves it. I think he realizes this is where his best interest ends up probably being our best interest, so we're going to be pretty firm about this."

Until Beckett can resume throwing, he will try to make the best of the situation.

"He can do a lot of things, but when we get him back out there throwing, we don't want him making any adjustments to his delivery, to his arm slot, because that's where we run into problems," Francona said.

Red Sox get good news on Cameron

BOSTON -- Red Sox center fielder Mike Cameron got some good news on Wednesday, when he learned that he hasn't suffered any significant setbacks to his lower abdomen, which kept him off the active roster from April 19-May 24.

Cameron returned last week and played in five games before having some soreness that has kept him out of the lineup the past two days.

Cameron had an MRI at Fenway Park on Tuesday, but he went to see a specialist on Wednesday morning, which was when he got the encouraging prognosis. Cameron could return to the lineup as early as this weekend, when the Red Sox play a three-game series at Baltimore.

The pain Cameron has experienced this week has been on a different side of the abdomen than the area that caused his DL stint.

What Cameron is experiencing on the right side is tendinitis.

"There's no tear on the right side, so that was good to know. My next question to the doctor was to see if I could do any more damage playing, or trying to play through certain things," said Cameron. "He told me probably not. I wouldn't probably do any more damage unless I went out and tried to play hurt, which we all know that hasn't been the case." Just by getting some reassurance, Cameron will be more confident when he returns to the lineup.

"Already, you see a little different look in his eyes," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "That was really good news. He's not going to play tonight. I don't know if he's going to play tomorrow. And when he does play, like we talked about before, we'll keep an eye on him. But that was really encouraging news."

It is particularly good news when you consider how short-handed the Red Sox have been in the outfield this season. Jacoby Ellsbury, the team's other established center fielder, has played in just nine games this season because of a hairline fracture in his left ribs. Ellsbury went back on the disabled list last week and there's still no word on when he will return.

Jeremy Hermida started in left field for the Sox on Wednesday, while Darnell McDonald got the nod in center.

"As long as my range of motion comes back, and the inflammation goes out, everything should go as planned," Cameron said. "I don't plan on being out that long. I guess that's one reason we held off on the DL, because the last time it took about four days to get back going again. That's what we're hoping this time, [and what] we're looking for. That's how my body should progress the next couple of days."