Daniel Bard recently underwent surgery for decompression of his nerve by removing a rib. I think that’s the process in a nutshell. Needless to say, it’s a pretty significant surgery, one that doesn’t have much of a success rate. If you haven’t figured it out, Bard was going through the famous Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Yep. The same Thoracic Outlet Syndrome that plagued Josh Beckett last season.
This is mildly interesting mainly because they were both Red Sox. They were both Red Sox in that historical collapse of 2011, and laughable 2012 season Boston endured. And they were both awful baseball players playing for the Red Sox throughout the span of September 2011 and All of 2012. It’s pretty interesting to see the similarities. But more on that, Gammons introduces something that I haven’t heard from at all.
In Arizona last spring, Beckett confided that before he was traded to the Dodgers on Aug. 25, 2012, he had almost no feel in his pitching hand. Bard did not have feel problems to that extent, but does remember some issues with his shoulder and the way he gripped the ball.
Hmm. That’s sure a significant problem. No feeling in your pitching hand most of or all of 2012, and definitely 2013? That’s troubling for me to know that he was under this much scrutiny and hate when he couldn’t even feel his pitching hand.
The most stunning of all of this was his 2012 stats with the Dodgers. Understanding that he was dealing with the effects of TOS, we actually see him put up 0.5 WAR in 43.0 innings pitched with the Dodgers. He had a 2.93 ERA with a 3.74 xFIP. Now we all know what followed that in 2013, but now it’s somewhat understandable considering the situation he was dealing with. I don’t know how much the Dodgers can count on Beckett, but maybe the narrative that Beckett is selfish, and isn’t a team player, and only likes to play golf, and eat chicken is a bit off.
Being an athlete in today’s game when under the scrutiny of the internet and twitter can be difficult. But maybe it’s time we eased off on Beckett. One thing is for sure, if the Dodgers don’t sign Bronson Arroyo, Josh Beckett could very well be the #5 starter coming out of Spring Training. Considering how hard he’s worked to get back out there, and now the problems he faced are gone *hopefully*, and even looking at his nice 8.52 K/9 innings last season, maybe he’s due for a bounce back season. I’ve softened my stance on Beckett and am definitely rooting for him going forward.