Josh Beckett gives up mammoth homer, takes loss in Dodgers debut

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Josh Beckett was rudely welcomed back to the National League on Monday, getting lit up by very first batter he faced, Tyler Colvin, on his way to taking a loss to the Rockies.

Colvin launched an 0-1 fastball off the facing of the upper deck (here’s the video) to get the Rockies off on the right foot tonight. They went on to win 10-0, knocking the Dodgers 2 1/2 games behind the idle Giants in the NL West.

Making his first start for the Dodgers after Saturday’s big trade with the Red Sox, Beckett ended up allowing three runs in 5 2/3 innings. He retired six in a row after the homer, notching three of his six strikeouts in the sequence. The Rockies didn’t get to him again until the fourth, when Chris Nelson tripled and was singled in by D.J. LeMahieu.

The third run came in the sixth, courtesy of singles from Nelson, Jonathan Herrera and pinch-hitter Johnny Rutledge. Rutledge’s hit scored Nelson and resulted in Beckett’s removal.

Jeff Francis got the win for Colorado after throwing five scoreless innings. The Beckett-Francis duel was actually a rematch of Game 1 of the 2007 World Series between Boston and Colorado, which the Red Sox won 13-1.

Beckett has now allowed eight homers in four starts this month after going 12 straight starts from May 15-July 31 without giving up any. He’s 0-5 in his last seven starts and 5-12 with a 5.21 ERA in 133 innings for the season.

Fortunately, the Dodgers weren’t counting on Beckett to be a savior. With his velocity down, it’s doubtful that he’ll return to 2011 form at any point during the season. Still, he should be an upgrade over Joe Blanton at the back of the rotation, and he’ll be a reasonable option as a third or fourth starter come playoff time, should the Dodgers advance.

Beckett is slated to make his home debut for the Dodgers against the Diamondbacks on Saturday. After that, he’ll get a road test against the Giants.

Derek Jeter and Giancarlo Stanton have different stories about his trade

Associated Press
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Giancarlo Stanton was introduced by the New York Yankees moments ago, donning the pinstripes for the first time and meeting a mass of media. The takeaway from the presser — apart from how happy he seems to be about joining the Yankees — is how poorly the Miami Marlins handled his departure.

Earlier in the day Derek Jeter — who, despite being in charge of the Marlins baseball operations department is not here for the Winter Meetings — had a telephone press conference in which he seemed to bristle at the bad press he’s received since the Stanton trade was announced and tried to tell his side of the story of the deal. Here’s his side of the story:

During his press conference just now Stanton was asked if Jeter persuaded him to stay. He paused for several seconds when he was asked that. Then he answered:

We had a meeting, yes. We spoke about the direction of the team. I wanted us to go forward and have — and advance with the pitching staff. I thought our lineup was legit and we needed help with our pitchers, and we needed to add rather than subtract. The way they wanted to go was to subtract, so I let that be known that I didn’t want to be part of another rebuild, another losing season, and that’s almost a guaranteed losing season taking away what I thought was a great lineup. So, yes, I didn’t want to be a part of the rebuild.

It was quite clear from both his words and his demeanor that Stanton gave the Marlins a reasonable set of circumstances that would make him want to stay. It was likewise clear that the Marlins did nothing to persuade him to stay.

They also bungled the trade.

Stanton has taken a lot of heat for rejecting deals to the Giants and the Cardinals. Stanton said, though, that he and his agent presented the Marlins with a list of teams to whom he’d accept a trade beforehand and the Giants and Cardinals were not on the list. Stanton:

Now, I gave my list of teams prior to, and they went to San Francisco and Cardinals and struck deals with them. So I was open to listen to them, but those were not my teams.

The Marlins nonetheless struck those deals and presented them to Stanton. Stanton said that he had a lot of respect for those organizations so he took meetings with them but that they were never on his list and they just weren’t deals that were going to work out.

News of those deals, it’s worth remembering, came out primarily from a reporter based in south Florida, suggesting that they were leaked by the Marlins. So not only was the club pursuing deals they should have known Stanton was going to reject, they made his act of rejecting them an awkward, public act which made Stanton into the bad guy in some quarters. Once those deals feel apart, of course, the Yankees quickly swooped in and got him for a good second baseman who will soon be traded and some magic beans.

Stanton came off really well in his presser. He answered every questions thrown at him. He praised the Cardinals and the Giants and explained his decision to join the Yankees without delving into the sorts of cliches often used when talking about the Yankees, focusing less on their history and brand and more on their good young players and their current state of competitiveness. He also said, when asked whether he’ll play right field given that Aaron Judge is there, that he doesn’t care where he played as long as he can help the team win. It was a master class in how to introduce yourself to the New York media.

Contrast that with what’s coming out of Miami. And ask yourself if we should maybe rethink what we talk about when we talk about Yankees, current and former, and the idea of “class.”

More from the Stanton press conference: