Dodgers’ Josh Beckett remains on track to start Tuesday in Pittsburgh.

ST. LOUIS>>Josh Beckett seems unlikely to miss another start after the right-hander threw a bullpen session Saturday morning at Busch Stadium without pain in his left hip.

“I felt like my mechanics were a lot sharper than I was expecting them to be, and the actual feel of the bullpen, also the way my body felt, was better than I thought,” Beckett said.

Drew Butera, who caught Beckett in the bullpen, said “that was as clean as I’ve seen him in a while.”

Beckett tried to pitch through a left hip impingement until he went on the disabled list July 8. He then received a cortisone injection to relieve the pain. Because of how the Dodgers were able to reset their rotation around the four-day All-Star break, Beckett only missed one start.

Paul Maholm pitched admirably in Beckett’s absence, throwing six scoreless innings against the San Diego Padres on July 12. But Maholm seems unlikely to make the start Tuesday in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, which is when Beckett’s turn in the rotation comes up next.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said that Beckett wouldn’t even be on a lower pitch count than usual when he returns.

“We’re always watching him,” Mattingly said. “Him and Danny (Haren) are kind of in the same boat. When they get into a certain range you’re usually, depending on how they got there, the red flags are starting to go off.”

Beckett is 6-5 with a 2.26 earned-run average in 17 starts this season, second on the staff to Clayton Kershaw. He’s averaging a little more than six innings per start.

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.