Josh Beckett returns from concussion with good outing against Astros

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Josh Beckett shook off the mild concussion he sustained last Monday to toss 3.2 innings of one-run ball against the Astros today, striking out four batters.

In addition to avoiding any post-concussion symptoms Beckett also told Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com that his back problems have improved after limiting him to just 21 starts last season:

I feel different walking around. More stability than anything. It’s not like it feels stronger, but more stable. Balanced is a good word for it. Balance is huge in pitching. It keeps me healthy.

Obviously getting healthy is key for Beckett, but even setting aside the injury issues his 116/46 K/BB ratio in 128 innings last season suggested he pitched much better than the ugly 5.78 ERA would indicate. Based on his strikeout, walk, and ground-ball numbers Beckett posted a solid 4.01 xFIP.

Former major league pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez dies in traffic accident

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Former Phillies right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez died in a traffic accident in Havana on Thursday, per reports from the El Nuevo Herald and CiberCuba. No other deaths or injuries have been reported in connection to the accident. Gonzalez was 34 years old.

The Cuban righty defected from his home country in 2013 and signed a three-year, $12 million contract with the Phillies. A bout of right shoulder tendinitis compromised his bid for a major league role, but he finally broke through to the big leagues at the tail end of the 2014 season and turned in a 6.75 ERA, 5.1 BB/9 and 8.4 SO/9 in just six outings. Another case of shoulder inflammation derailed any progress he might have made in 2015, however, and he recorded just five innings in Triple-A Lehigh Valley before the team officially released him prior to the 2016 season.

The Phillies released a statement following news of Gonzalez’s death: