Josh Beckett played long toss Wednesday before the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels began their AL division series, and remains on track to start Game 3 on Sunday in Boston.
"He has to answer some physical questions every step of the way, and today was a good one," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "Now, if everything goes OK, he'll throw his side tomorrow, but we reserve the right to make a change if we don't think it's in his best interest physically. But he's had a real good last couple of days and today was another good day.
"Now, part of that is the evaluation of how they respond later and do they stiffen up," Francona added, but so far everything has been pretty positive."
And if Beckett can't go?
"We really don't feel the need to announce, you know, some of that might be how we get there. We'll see," Francona said. "We'll obviously have a backup plan."
Beckett, originally scheduled to start Game 1, injured a muscle in his side last Friday during a bullpen session. He pitched a complete-game, four-hit shutout with no walks and eight strikeouts in the opener of last year's first-round series. The Red Sox won 4-0, and went on to sweep the three-game series to give them nine straight postseason wins over the Angels.