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.

Steve Delabar among three suspended after testing positive

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Three players were suspended on Monday after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. They are: Indians pitcher Steve Delabar, Mariners pitcher Jonathan Aro, and free agent pitcher Jeffry Hernandez. Aro got a 50-game suspension while the other two were handed 80-game suspensions.

Delabar, 33, hasn’t pitched yet this season after signing a minor league deal with the Indians back in January. He spent last year with the Reds as well as the Hiroshima Carp in the Japan Central League. The right-hander has struggled over the last few seasons.

Aro, 26, also hasn’t appeared yet this season in the minors. He’s worked mostly in relief. The right-hander appeared briefly in the majors with the Mariners last season and logged 10 1/3 innings in the show with the Red Sox in 2015. Aro went to the Mariners along with Wade Miley in the trade that brought the Red Sox Carson Smith and Roenis Elias.

Hernandez, 22, is a free agent and his suspension will be effective if and when he signs with a new team.

Phillies place Aaron Nola on the disabled list

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The Phillies announced on Monday that starter Aaron Nola has been placed on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to April 21, with a lower back strain.

Nola, 23, compiled a 4.50 ERA with a 15/6 K/BB ratio over his first three starts spanning 16 innings. He felt some back soreness during his last start on Thursday against the Mets, and it lingered when he had a side session on Sunday.

CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury hears that the Phillies are likely to call up Nick Pivetta from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take Nola’s place in the rotation. Nola was scheduled to start on Wednesday.

Pivetta, 24, was acquired from the Nationals in the Jonathan Papelbon trade in July 2015. At Triple-A so far, Pivetta has given up only two earned runs on 12 hits and two walks with 24 strikeouts in 19 innings.