Josh Beckett apparently got his thumb caught in a door about two weeks ago. He tried to pitch through it in his start against the Cubs on Friday afternoon but he could only make it through three of his four scheduled innings, reports Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times. The Dodgers are calling it a thumb contusion.
Beckett did pitch reasonably well regardless, allowing only one hit and walking two while striking out one. It’s not yet known if he will make his next scheduled start.
Paul Maholm is the odd man out in the rotation but if Beckett needs to miss time, he would get the call from the Dodgers.
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The Tampa Bay Rays have signed lefty swingman Ryan Merritt to a minor league contract. Nah, it’s not a big signing but we’ll take anything today.
Merritt, who has spent his entire career in the Indians organization, spent the entire 2018 season at Triple-A Columbus. It wasn’t a bad year for him — he posted a 3.79 ERA and a 52/2 K/BB ratio in 13 starts and two relief appearances covering 71.1 innings — but the Tribe just couldn’t find a role for him at the big league level. He has shown in the past, however, that he can hack it in the bigs, having posted a 1.71 ERA in 31.2 innings with the Indians between 2016-2017.
His thing is that he simply doesn’t strike guys out at anything approaching a typical clip for a big leaguer: 3.7 per nine innings in his small sample of major league outings and 6.3 Ks per nine innings in the minors. Which, while it may not prevent him from having success at the big league level, is likely a reason for the limited number of chances he’s been given.
The Rays are probably the best place he could go, frankly. They’ve shown themselves willing to utilize guys in unique ways and are more likely than most teams to find places to spot a lefty control specialist who has shown he can both start and come out of the pen.