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08/11/10 6:42 PM ET

Rangers aim to spoil Beckett's homecoming

Josh Beckett, one of the most successful pitchers to come from Texas, is heading back to his home state on Friday with a victory on his to-do list.

The Rangers have other plans. Texas starter Tommy Hunter and company are out to ruin his homecoming.

Coming off a two-game split against the Yankees, the Rangers lead the American League West by 7 1/2 games. Texas has won four of its last 10 games and sports a record of 65-48 since April 22.

Hunter will be out to improve that record.

In his last outing, Hunter beat the Mariners, 6-0, tossing 6 1/3 scoreless frames. He gave up eight hits and walked two, but Seattle was 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position. He beat the Red Sox, 7-2, in his only start against them this season.

"I threw the ball a lot better," Hunter said after his last start. "I was able to command the ball on both sides of the plate. The last time, I was missing over the plate. Tonight, I was able to throw my offspeed pitches for strikes."

As for Beckett, the ace was stellar in his first three starts back from the disabled list but struggled last time out against the Yankees, giving up 11 hits and seven runs over 4 2/3 innings.

"Health-wise, I'm fine," Beckett said. "There's no problems there [with the lower back strain that landed Beckett on the DL], it just comes down to making pitches. You throw pitches down the middle of the plate to any of these guys, they're going to hit it hard."

The road back to Texas will not be an easy one for Beckett. In seven road starts this year, he is 2-1 with a 6.23 ERA.

After a heartbreaking walk-off loss to the Blue Jays -- one that saw Toronto score four runs in the bottom of the ninth to snap Boston's three-game winning streak -- the Red Sox fell to 5 1/2 games back in the AL East and four behind in the AL Wild Card race.

Red Sox: Nicked up all year long
The club has six players on the disabled list and has had 16 overall and 19 total stints this season. Of the 16 players who have been on the DL for Boston, nine are current or former All-Stars. ... Jacoby Ellsbury moved passed Larry Gardner for fifth place on the Red Sox's all-time list with 135 career steals. ... The Red Sox are 3-4 against the Rangers this season and have been outscored 37-26 in those games.

Rangers: Sale of club approved unanimously
The sale of the Rangers got unanimous approval from Major League Baseball owners at their joint meeting on Thursday. The new ownership group, which purchased the team from Tom Hicks last Wednesday for $593 million, is called Rangers Baseball Express, with attorney Chuck Greenberg serving as managing general partner and Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan remaining as club president. ... Rich Harden will pitch Tuesday against the Rays. C.J. Wilson will start on Sunday against the Red Sox and Cliff Lee will start on Monday against the Rays. ... The Rangers' 13 extra-inning games are tied with the Orioles for the AL lead in that category. ... Joaquin Arias (strained lower back) has been sent to Double-A Frisco on a medical rehabilitation assignment.

Worth noting
Neftali Feliz needs one save to reach 30, which would make him the youngest pitcher to record a 30-save season. The current youngest is Huston Street, who turned 23 during his 37-save season with Oakland in 2006. Feliz turned 22 on May 2. ... Jonathan Papelbon has 29 saves and is one shy of his fifth straight year with at least 30 saves. He will become the first pitcher to record 30 or more saves in each of his first five full Major League seasons. Papelbon suffered a blown save against the Blue Jays on Thursday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.