Red Sox Manager Terry Francona was encouraged by the reports on Nomar Garciaparra's rehab outing at Class AAA.

"I talked to him and it surprised him how well he felt," Francona said yesterday.

Garciaparra was 2 for 3 yesterday playing for the Pawtucket Red Sox in the International League. It was his second game since fouling a ball off his right heel in spring training on March 17.

"It felt pretty good," Garciaparra said.

The Red Sox hadn't decided whether Garciaparra would make Pawtucket's next trip to Toledo.

* PRIOR IS READY: On the disabled list since spring training, Mark Prior is scheduled to make his season debut Friday for the Cubs against the Pirates.

After being sidelined with an inflamed right Achilles' tendon and sore right elbow, Prior was impressive in his third rehab start Sunday when he allowed two runs and three hits while striking out 10 in 51/3 innings for AAA Iowa.

* DL ROUNDUP: Andy Pettitte went back on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained muscle in his left forearm. Pettitte, who signed a three-year, $31.5 million contract with Houston, also was disabled from April 7-29. . . .

Marlins RHP Josh Beckett was placed on the 15-day DL because of a blister on the middle finger of his throwing hand. The team recalled reliever Ben Howard from AAA Albuquerque.

-- From News Services