In a very promising Spring debut for Josh Beckett, the right-hander had a great outing on Sunday afternoon at Camelback Ranch. The veteran pitcher is trying to return from thoracic outlet syndrome after undergoing removal of a rib which was pinching on a nerve and causing numbness in his pitching arm and hand.
The Dodgers and Padres ended the game on Sunday with a 3-3 tie. Josh Beckett’s performance was very brave indeed. Beckett only allowed 1 hit (a Yonder Alonso single in the first) while striking out 3 and walking none. You couldn’t ask for a better start for Beckett who has said that he feels physically good going into Spring Training. Beckett admitted that he was a bit nervous last night as he prepared mentally for the game.
Orel Hershiser, who by the way is pleasant to listen to on non-Vin game days so far, commented on Beckett’s smooth delivery and easiness on the mound on Sunday. It is quite nice to have the Bulldog behind the mic for the Dodgers now. Orel’s pitching knowledge really adds a great layer to the broadcast alongside Charley Steiner. Orel even brought up old stories about his pitching days as well which is always fun to listen to.
Back to Beckett. The 33-year old wasn’t throwing hard (although with no speed gun at Camelback Ranch it is hard to tell), but he was able to strike out three and induce two groundouts and a flyout against the Friars.
What was so impressive about the Beckett start was that he hadn’t pitched in a live game since May 13, 2013. Beckett was using a mix of
pitches including fastballs and breaking balls, and he showed exceptional control over his pitching. I would venture out and guess that his control may have even improved since his surgery since he can now feel the baseball with his fingers better.
The Dodgers back-up Beckett option, Paul Maholm, followed Beckett with his own two scoreless innings in game number five this Sunday. Maholm didn’t walk anyone, but he didn’t strike anyone out either. He allowed just one hit.
Josh Beckett is no doubt the better pitcher over Maholm when healthy. With a great prognosis and an inspiring first Spring start, Beckett solidified his projected fifth slot for now in the Dodgers rotation. There is still a long way to go for Beckett to work up the innings this Spring, but so far, so good.