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.
The Dodgers have reinstated first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from the 60-day disabled list after his recovery from a herniated disc. To make room for him they have optioned Rob Segedin to Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Gonzalez last played on June 11. Since then the Dodgers have gone an astounding 46-9, with shoe-in rookie of the year candidate Cody Bellinger handling first base duties and posting a .978 OPS. When Gonzalez went down he was hitting .255/.304/.339 and only one homer in 49 games.
It’ll be interesting to see what kind of playing time he gets going forward. The Dodgers, of course, have a comfortable lead in the NL West, so they could afford to allow Gonzalez to play a good bit to see if his bat sharpens up while simultaneously giving Bellinger, who has never played more than 137 games in a season, a bit of a breather. Beyond that, though, the Dodgers ain’t broke, so it’s hard to see why anyone would want to tinker with things.
The Tampa Bay Rays have activated outfielder Kevin Kiermaier from the 60-day disabled list.
Kiermaier, who fractured his hip in early June, is batting leadoff and playing center field in tonight’s game against the Mariners. He was just 3-for-24 on his rehab assignment, but those aren’t usually predictive of anything. He was hitting .258/.329/.408 when he went down. Getting his bat — and, more importantly, his glove — back in the lineup will boost the struggling Rays in their quest for a playoff spot.