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03/04/11 10:20 PM ET

Beckett encouraged by simulated game

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- As far as simulations go, Friday served its purpose for Red Sox right-hander Josh Beckett.

While throwing three innings and roughly 40 pitches against Minor League hitters on the back field of City of Palms Park, Beckett got more affirmation that he is fully over the mild concussion he sustained four days ago.

All systems appear go for the righty to make his next Grapefruit League start on Tuesday afternoon at City of Palms Park.

Now that he is fine, Beckett can admit he had some anxious moments earlier in the week.

"I don't think initially I was that scared," said Beckett. "I went to lunch a day and a half later and I couldn't do it. I couldn't be away from my house without lying down, and that's when I finally said, 'Hey, something is wrong here.'

"I was kind of resistant to even thinking I had a concussion. I tried to come in the next day and I was like, 'I'm ready to go back to work. Let's get this over with,' and everything like that. That day, when I went to lunch, I kind of had a little bit of a setback."

But all that is gone now, as Beckett -- who took a liner to the left side of his head during batting practice on Monday -- can simply focus on pitching again.

"I'm actually good," said Beckett. "I'm really sore on the left side of my head, my jaw, and stuff like that. I think I'm pretty much back to normal."

Aside from lacking the adrenaline of a normal Spring Training start, Beckett got what he needed to out of Friday's session.

"I thought we mixed in everything -- they brought in lefties and righties, so I got to throw a little bit of everything," Beckett said. "In fact, this time of year, it's good to get a little bit tired. And I did get a little bit tired. In between the second and third inning of going into those warm-ups, I could tell the difference."

Adrian takes first BP with Red Sox

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Adrian Gonzalez took another step forward in his rehab from right shoulder surgery, taking live batting practice for the first time on Friday.

Gonzalez, who had been doing only tee and flip work, took 10 swings off of live pitching and 80 overall.

He is getting closer to making his Grapefruit League debut in a Boston uniform, but the club will evaluate him daily rather than set a date too far ahead of time.

"I was supposed to take about 75 [swings] today and I ended up taking 80," Gonzalez said. "I felt good out there, so we'll see how it responds tomorrow. If at any point I feel anything, I'm going to stop. The fact that I didn't feel anything and [trainer] Mike [Reinold] was OK with me taking five more, that's a good sign."

Knowing he has plenty of time to be ready for Opening Day on April 1, Gonzalez doesn't feel the need to push the envelope.

"I don't like to set deadlines," Gonzalez said. "I don't like to think of a day and say, 'This day I have to get here.' Then you're not going off of what I feel. It's just not healthy.

"The main thing about this rehab is seeing how you come in the next day. It's not how you feel today, but how you're going to feel tomorrow that they're really worried about. They don't want me to go out there and play and come back the next day and be like, 'I can't raise my arm'."

Lowrie getting more experience at first base

TAMPA, Fla. -- First base is undoubtedly the easiest of the infield positions to handle, but that doesn't mean Jed Lowrie won't have to go through an adjustment period before he's truly adept at the spot.

As Lowrie takes on a super utility role for the Red Sox this season, he'll go through a learning process at first. In his Major League career, he's made just seven appearances there but no starts. His first start came Friday against the Yankees.

"That's the least amount of experience he has [of the infield spots], but he's fine," manager Terry Francona said. "He's a shortstop by trade, so he certainly doesn't have a tough time catching the ball. Reacting off the play is still a little new to him, but he's all right there."

Francona said the issues Lowrie might have at first are probably imperceptible to the casual fan.

"When the ball is hit, I think he has to think, 'Where do I go?'" Francona said. "The more he gets over there, the better that'll be."

Dice-K not taking starting job for granted

TAMPA, Fla. -- Daisuke Matsuzaka got the best draw of the Red Sox starters this weekend. Clay Buchholz had to get on the bus for the 125-mile trek to face the Yankees on Friday night, while Jon Lester is getting the nod Sunday, which means he'll endure the 135-mile journey to Port St. Lucie, Fla., where the Mets await.

It was an unavoidable quirk of the Grapefruit League schedule. Saturday presents a split-squad, with half the club heading to Sarasota, Fla., to face the Orioles and the other half staying home to take on the Marlins.

Guess which game Matsuzaka is pitching in?

"Until these guys get stretched out," manager Terry Francona said, "I'd rather them pitch right at home."

The start against the Marlins will be Matsuzaka's second of the spring. He allowed one run on one hit (a Jason Kubel homer) in two innings against the Twins on Monday. Though he has a rotation job locked up, Dice-K, who was 9-6 with a 4.69 ERA last season, said he's treating this spring as if he were competing for a job.

"It's actually very important for me to join the competition," Matsuzaka said Monday. "It's good to be at a competitive level and just to play well with other teammates and hope to be in the rotation."

After two starts, Buchholz looking sharp

TAMPA, Fla. -- It might have been a Grapefruit League start for Clay Buchholz on Friday night at George M. Steinbrenner Field, but you wouldn't really know it from the Yankees' lineup. Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada were all waiting for him.

"I looked at it and was like, 'Man, another All-Star team,'" Buchholz said. "But it was good going out there and facing guys like this. It definitely makes you better, because this is a time to go out there and work on your pitches."

Buchholz's work saw him pitch three scoreless innings in which he allowed one hit while striking out two during Boston's 5-3 victory. It was his second start this spring, and he's looked sharp in both of them.

This, however, was Buchholz's last look at the Yankees this spring. Though he is lined up to face them again March 14 in Fort Myers, Fla., manager Terry Francona will have him pitch a "B" game instead, as he doesn't want New York to get too many looks at Buchholz before the season begins in earnest.

Buchholz said he understands that rationale.

"Right now means nothing," he said. "I'd rather face them during the season."

Still, that didn't prevent Buchholz from using all his pitches Friday night. He fell behind in the count a couple times more than he'd like, including when A-Rod swung at a hanging 3-0 pitch and ripped it to left for a single in the second, but overall, Buchholz is happy with where he's at, given the early juncture.

"I worked hard coming into Spring Training," he said. "I feel good. I feel like the pitches are there. I just have to work on the command of a couple pitches and stay in my delivery."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, CastroTurf, and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.