FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) -Josh Beckett left Saturday's spring training game without facing a batter when he was bothered by back spasms as he warmed up.
The Boston Red Sox ace, preparing to face the Florida Marlins, seemed to lose his footing on his last pitch and called catcher Jason Varitek to the mound. Beckett put his right hand on the lower middle part of his back and soon was joined by manager Terry Francona and infielders.
The right-hander, the only 20-game winner in the majors last season, walked to the dugout without an apparent limp. The first batter for the Marlins was Hanley Ramirez, who was part of a seven-player trade that brought Beckett to the Red Sox in November 2005.
Manny Delcarmen replaced him on the mound and retired all six batters he faced.
Beckett had been healthy for almost all of his two seasons with the Red Sox. He made 33 starts in 2006 when he went 16-11 with a 5.01 ERA.
He started 30 games last year, improved to 20-7 with a 3.27 ERA and finished second to Cleveland's C.C. Sabathia in the AL Cy Young Award voting. He went on the disabled list and missed two starts in May after tearing skin on his right middle finger. He won his first seven starts and was 9-0 before losing to Colorado on June 14.
In the opener of the Red Sox sweep of the Rockies in the World Series, Beckett allowed one run and six hits in seven innings of Boston's 13-1 victory.
On Saturday, Beckett was scheduled to make his third start of spring training, but his first against a regular major league lineup. His first two games were against Boston College and a Minnesota Twins ``B'' squad.
In the 24-0 win over BC, Beckett struck out four in two perfect innings. Four days later, he allowed one unearned run and struck out five in three innings against the Twins.

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