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.