Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell expected to Return to Red Sox on Friday

Christopher CostaContributor ISeptember 3, 2008

The Boston Red Sox have 23 games left to play until the end of the 162-game regular season. On Friday September 5th, Red Sox SP Josh Beckett and 3B Mike Lowell are expected to return from the disabled list. At 11-9, Beckett has not pitched since August 17th. Becket is scheduled to face Texas Rangers' SP Kevin Millwood who is 9-7 on the season.

Beckett is returning from inflammation in his right elbow, while Mike Lowell is recovering from a strained right-side oblique. Michael Bowden threw a near gem against the Chicago White Sox in Beckett's place, but the veteran experience of Josh Beckett in the postseason is unparalleled.

In Mike Lowell's place, the 3B spot has been filled by IF Alex Cora and IF Jed Lowrie. Again, it is nice to have the bat of Mike Lowell back in the game at which point Lowrie or Cora could play SS.

Their returns could not have come at a better time for the Red Sox. The Red Sox presently lead the AL Wild Card Race, and are 3.5 games out of first place behind the infamous Tampa Bay Rays.

The pitching prowess of Josh Beckett could help the Sox take the lead for first place as the Red Sox start a three game series in Boston against the Rays on September 8th and then they play again in Tampa on the 15th.

Sox fans can count on the big bat of Dustin Pedroia who hit a huge solo shot in the bottom of the seventh inning on Sept. 3rd to start the rally in which the Red Sox walked off winning 5-4. Pedroia is hitting .333 with 17 HR and 76 RBI.

The Sox are in a great position with two key players coming back to take the lead in the race for first place in the AL.