BOSTON – Josh Beckett is making progress in his rehab from a lower back strain.

The Red Sox pitcher, out since May 18, will make at least one more rehab start on Saturday in Syracuse for Triple-A Pawtucket before sitting down with Boston coaches and Manager Terry Francona to determine if he can return to the rotation next week on the road trip.

“I haven’t even heard this is my last start,” Beckett said Thursday afternoon. “That’s not my decision. I’m just trying to build up. I want to feel good at the end of the game and feel like I got the results I wanted, but also building up is a big part of it.”

Francona left the door open for Beckett to return to his normal spot in the rotation if everything goes well on Saturday and the days following.

“If he’s ready to come back and pitch for us, he will,” Francona said. “If he’s not, we’ll let him have another (rehab start). The plan is to have him throw maybe about 85 pitches and if all goes terrific, he can come back and take his slot with us. If we all feel like he needs another one, then he would do that, but we want to evaluate that after he pitches.”

Meanwhile, Adrian Beltre had an MRI on his sore left hamstring and Francona said the preliminary findings were “pretty good,” but he decided to hold him out of the starting lineup against the Texas Rangers on Thursday night at Fenway Park. Francona replaced Beltre with Bill Hall at third base for the four-game series opener.

“I wasn’t real comfortable playing him tonight,” Francona said. “Hopefully, he’ll go out, move around, maybe be available to pinch hit, play (today), that would be, for me, best case. I just think with the travel, I just didn’t have a real good feeling running him out there. Just knowing the way he plays, I didn’t want him hurting himself.”

Beltre said he felt a cramp in his left hamstring that forced him from Sunday’s game in Toronto. He was scratched from Tuesday’s All-Star game and replaced by Rangers infielder Michael Young. Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein said on Wednesday he didn’t anticipate Beltre winding up on the disabled list.

Victor Martinez told Francona that his left thumb is “feeling a little bit better” and he was getting an exam Thursday night.

Dustin Pedroia will get his broken left foot looked at Friday and Jason Varitek will have his broken right foot examined as well.

Mike Lowell (strained right hip) went out early Thursday and “took some ground balls, (hit) some balls off the tee and in the cage,” Francona said. “He actually felt pretty good. We’re going to start ramping him back up, too.”