Josh Beckett will undergo season-ending surgery this week to remove a rib and relieve pressure on a nerve that’s been causing hand numbness for several years.
It’s a potentially career-threatening injury for the 33-year-old right-hander and Beckett talked to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times about how much the hand numbness has impacted his performance (and life):
I’d try to drive with my right hand and my right hand would go numb. I’d throw a bullpen, and I couldn’t feel my hand. … Being ready for next year, and for spring training, without any limitations is probably the most realistic goal.
Beckett tried to rest and rehab before opting for surgery, but the description of what he dealt with certainly shines a light on how he went from top-of-the-rotation starter to going 7-19 with a 4.76 ERA in 214 innings since the beginning of last season. Shaikin writes that “his arm would feel weak and heavy” whenever he pitched.
Last month, free agent right-hander Bartolo Colon told reporters that he’d be open to taking a minor league deal in 2018, but only if he was guaranteed a return to the Mets’ system. The 44-year-old starter is nearing the end of a 20-year career, and it makes sense that he’d want to have one last hurrah in the city where he had some of his most productive years.
Now, Twins starter Ervin Santana tells Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, it looks like the Mets might also be open to a reunion. It’s doubtful that Colon has all that much left in the tank, especially following a combined 7-14 record and 6.48 ERA for the Braves and Twins last year, but he’s not necessarily looking to reproduce the 15+ win, sub-4.00 ERA totals of years past.
Instead, Santana says, Colon is seeking the opportunity to win just six more games. He’ll enter the 2018 season five wins shy of the all-time record for a Latin American-born player, and is hoping to claim that title for himself before he enters retirement in 2019. Former Orioles and Expos hurler Dennis Martinez currently holds the record after clinching his 245th win back in 1998. While it took Colon a full season of starts to come up with even seven wins in 2017, he’s only one year removed from a 15-win campaign in 2016. Provided that the Mets are willing to gamble on him again, the milestone may not be that far out of reach.