Dodgers right-hander Josh Beckett had his season cut short last July due to thoracic outlet surgery, but he’s ready to reclaim his spot in the starting rotation this spring.
According to Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, Beckett threw 30 pitches in a bullpen session today without any visible discomfort. Interestingly, he said that he felt numbness and tingling in his fingers “for years” and often “had no idea where [the baseball] was going to go.” He’s hoping for better results after surgery.
But now, “I’m not tentative,” Beckett said. “I’m going to throw as hard as I can and see what happens. Right now, I feel great. I’ll throw the ball until I blow out and I’m hoping that’s not for a few more years.”
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly isn’t making any promises, but Beckett is the likely favorite for the fifth spot in the starting rotation if healthy and effective. The Dodgers added left-hander Paul Maholm on a one-year deal over the weekend as an insurance policy.
Beckett, who turns 34 in May, is owed $15.75 million this season in the final year of a four-year, $68 million contract originally signed with the Red Sox.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.