ST. PETERSBURG -- Daisuke Matsuzaka took a break from the solitude of his rehab in Fort Myers, Fla., to visit with his teammates the past two days.
The right-hander, who underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in June, is nearing the point where he can start a throwing program.
"I was told if everything goes well I can start to throw 16 weeks from surgery," Matsuzaka said through interpreter Kenta Yamada.
It was about 13 weeks ago Matsuzaka had his surgery.
"I'm doing everything now except throwing," Matsuzaka said. "When I come to this point, I can picture myself throwing again. I can start to throw lightly, and I'm very much looking forward to the throwing program."
Matsuzaka will miss at least the first couple of months of 2012, and likely a bit longer.
He is doing what he can do to get through the monotony of rehab.
"When my family comes down to Fort Myers, I play with the kids in the pool, or go to the movies, watch a movie with the kids," Matsuzaka said. "I'm trying to have a moment to refresh from the repetitive rehabilitation."
Ankle feeling better, Beckett resumes throwing
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Red Sox haven't yet set a date for ace Josh Beckett to return to their rotation, but Saturday was an important day, as the righty moved from the trainers' room back to the field.
Five days after spraining his right ankle in Toronto, Beckett resumed throwing.
"Long toss, he threw a little flat ground," said manager Terry Francona. "He's doing actually pretty good. Minimal soreness. Again, we'll continue to re-evaluate him and see how he does. But no, he's doing good. That's the good thing. When he pitches, we don't know, but he's doing OK."
Beckett said he threw some breaking balls and changeups in his flat-ground work to see how his right ankle felt pushing off.
"It feels a lot better today," Beckett said. "Two days ago, it was pretty rough. The day before that, with the travel and stuff, going back to Boston and standing around -- I was on my feet basically from nine in the morning 'till six at night."
It isn't out of the realm of possibility that Beckett could throw a bullpen session by the middle of next week and make his next start towards the weekend.
"I think it sounds reasonable, but like I said, it's not my decision," Beckett said. "It's going to kind of be up to them. Obviously they're going to have my input. I'm ready to come back whenever it feels good."
However, Beckett did emphasize that he needs to be smart with the injury. To come back too soon would be counterproductive.
"I'm hoping this isn't a question mark. It needs to be 100 percent or at least close to 100 percent whenever I come back, because it makes everybody look foolish if you go back out there and you hurt it five pitches in," said Beckett. "I don't think we're going to do that. We're going to test it off the mound first and figure stuff out."
After seeing foot specialist Dr. George Theodore on Tuesday, Beckett is fully confident there is nothing seriously wrong with his ankle.
"I saw the foot specialist, he said this is where the pain's coming from, it's basically from having fluid in my joint," Beckett said. "When you have fluid in there, it takes up space. And whenever you do certain movements, it pinches you. That's what I was getting.''
Meanwhile, John Lackey, who suffered a bruised left calf on Friday, should be fine to make his next start on Wednesday.
Youkilis out of action for rest of weekend
ST. PETERSBURG -- Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis will not return to the team this weekend. Instead, he will stay back in Boston and continue to work his way back from bursitis in his left hip, an injury that was diagnosed by the team's medical staff Friday.
Youkilis will work out at Fenway on Monday during the team's off-day, and he could return to the lineup as early as Tuesday. But it all depends on his symptoms.
Manager Terry Francona also confirmed that Youkilis has the onset of a sports hernia, which might require a surgical procedure once the season is over.
"Saying that, it's kind of a general term, which means he has a weakening of an area, which we already knew," Francona said. "It's not really news. I think we're going to have to certainly check him out when the season's over to see what needs to be done -- if anything. For now, he'll play as tolerated. I think they believe he can play. If he needs us to give him a day off, we can certainly do that."
It has been a tough few weeks for Youkilis, who recently served a 15-day stint on the disabled list with lower back woes.
"He's been diving, falling -- he's been tender in so many areas," Francona said. "I think that's what a sports hernia is. Like a real hernia is like when something comes bulging out. This is a term that's used that I think has kind of got a life of its own. I'm glad they were diligent enough to look and it gives Youk a little bit of peace of mind. Again, when the season is over, I think you have an obligation to say, 'OK, where do we go from here?'"
With Youkilis out, the Red Sox again played Jed Lowrie at third and Marco Scutaro at short. Dustin Pedroia, who hit cleanup on Friday, moved back to the No. 2 spot in the batting order. David Ortiz hit fourth.
New Spring Training facility in the home stretch
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Jet Blue Park, where the Red Sox will spend their Spring Trainings next season and beyond, is still under construction, but it is now a living, breathing development instead of just a concept.
The seating bowl is complete, though the seats won't actually be installed until close to Thanksgiving.
The foundation of the Green Monster has been built and now just needs to be filled in. Ditto for the dugouts and the clubhouses. The playing surface is still covered in dirt, but it will be completed when it's time.
Once the state-of-the-art facility, which will accommodate approximately 11,000 fans, is complete by the middle of January, the excitement will truly begin.
"It's amazing how fast everything has progressed since we had our commencement of construction ceremony on March 3," said Katie Haas, the director of Florida business operations for the Red Sox. "We're over half finished. As you saw outside, everything is clicking on all cylinders. We're going full blaze and we're going to be there mid-January."
The Monster Seats will have a bit of a different feel from the ones at Fenway, in that there will be two tiers.
"The seats that people know from Fenway as the Monster Seats, those seats are actually going to be inside the Monster, and in front of him is going to be a tightly coiled netting material similar to what's behind home plate," said Haas. "And then on top of the Monster is going to be a long drink rail with bar-stool seats all the way across, so you can have seats inside the Monster and on top, and then we'll have standing room as well, on top."
The field will be a Fenway replica, albeit with a Florida feel. All the playing dimensions will be the same as Fenway. The Red Sox will have six practice fields as part of the complex, including one that has a Green Monster so that the team's outfielders and hitters can have extra practice for the 81 home games per season.