Josh Beckett feeling better, hoping to return next week

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Things are improving quickly for Josh Beckett.

The Red Sox right-hander played long-toss from about 250 feet on Saturday afternoon in Tampa Bay.

He had no trouble striding into his throws and did not appear to be bothered at all by his right ankle, which was sprained this past Monday while the Boston ace was making a start against the Blue Jays.

According to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe, Beckett is hoping to throw a bullpen session next Tuesday or Wednesday with an eye on returning to the Red Sox rotation by the end of the week.

Beckett, 31, has posted a stellar 2.49 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 155/46 K/BB ratio in 173 2/3 innings this season.

Mike Napoli tore his ACL

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Mike Napoli suffered a torn right ACL and meniscus while playing for Triple-A Columbus the other night. The injury will require season-ending surgery.

Given that Napoli will turn 37 this year, given that he will need 10-14 months of rehab and given that, as it was, he was unable to find a major league gig, it’s almost certain that this injury will end Napoli’s career.

Napoli was off to a 1-for-24 start at Columbus after signing a minor league contract with the Indians this spring. He hit .193/.285/.428 for the Rangers in 2017. If this is it for Napoli, he’ll end his career with a line of .246/.346/.475 with 267 homers and 744 driven in. He appeared in the World Series with the 2011 Rangers, the 2013 Red Sox and the 2016 Indians, winning a ring with Boston.