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12/09/08 1:43 AM EST

Beckett, Lowell, Lugo getting healthy

Trio of starters should be ready to go in Spring Training

LAS VEGAS -- When last people saw the Boston Red Sox, they were in a bad way medically.

Ace Josh Beckett had to will his way through Game 6 of the American League Championship Series with a painful right oblique injury. Mike Lowell's season ended after Game 3 of the AL Division Series vs. the Angels, thanks to a partial tear of the labrum in his right hip. Shortstop Julio Lugo didn't play after July, thanks to a left quad tear.

And now? There are glowing progress reports on all three players.

Expect Beckett to be primed and ready when Spring Training starts.

"He's feeling good," Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said. "He's started his full-body workouts. The latest reports have been really good. He doesn't feel any restrictions or pains or limitations at all. That's what we expected. It was just an acute injury. It wasn't anything chronic."

The most concerning injury was Lowell's, because of how hobbled the third baseman became before finally having surgery. But the Red Sox are thrilled by his progress.

"[We] got a great report on Mikey today," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "He was in Boston. He had a sparkling report, which was really nice to hear. I think the timetable is that he'll probably be hitting by the middle of January. I don't think that you're going to see him play nine innings in the first game of Spring Training, because he wouldn't anyway, but you understand my point. I think everybody, from medical people on down, think that when the season starts, he's going to be ready to go."

Lugo, it should be noted, would likely have been on the World Series roster if the Red Sox had defeated the Rays in Game 7 of the ALCS.

"He's been healthy for some time," Epstein said. "Last I heard, he plans to start playing in the Dominican League real soon, I think by about next week."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.