BoSox ace Beckett pitches in minor league game, expected to land on DL

3/24/2008 - MLB Josh Beckett Boston Red Sox + more

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Josh Beckett threw two scoreless innings in a minor league game Sunday, an important step in his return from back spasms.

The Boston Red Sox ace, who went 20-7 with a 3.27 ERA last season, allowed one hit and one walk while striking out three for Triple-A Pawtucket against Double-A Portland. He threw 35 pitches and faced seven batters.

Prior to Tuesday's season opener against Oakland in Tokyo, the Red Sox are expected to place Beckett on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 19.

The move would allow Beckett to be available to pitch April 4 when the Red Sox begin a three-game series in Toronto.

Beckett felt discomfort in his back after throwing a warmup pitch before his scheduled start March 8 against the Florida Marlins. He departed without facing a batter.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.