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Marlins ace strained back muscle

MIAMI -- Florida ace Josh Beckett expects to make his next
start despite a strained back muscle.

Beckett left Thursday night's game against the Chicago White Sox
in the fourth inning after feeling a "pop" in his back. It was
his first start since returning from the 15-day disabled list.
Beckett was placed on the DL May 31 with a blister on his right
middle finger.

"Hopefully I can make my next start," Beckett said Friday.
"If it keeps getting better, I don't see why I couldn't."

Manager Jack McKeon said he might opt to push Beckett's next
start back a day or two, depending on how quickly the World Series
MVP recovers. Beckett is scheduled to pitch Wednesday night against
Atlanta on six days' rest.

Beckett said he's never had any back problems. He said his back
tightened up and hurt every time he tried to stand up or sit down.
He also had trouble sleeping.

"I don't think it's related to anything," he said. "You just
put a lot of torque on your back whenever you pitch."

Beckett struck out eight of the first nine hitters he faced
Thursday. He allowed two hits and walked none before leaving the
game.

Beckett said the blister posed no problems.