Dodgers Report: curveball
May, 25, 2014
By Mark Saxon | ESPNLosAngeles.com
Every time Josh Beckett has had success this season -- and Sunday’s no-hitter in Philadelphia was hardly his first positive stride in what’s been a remarkable two months for the veteran -- I think back to a conversation Feb. 19 in a quiet corner of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ spring training clubhouse.
Nobody was really paying much attention to Beckett back then.
He was an aging, rehabbing pitcher who had been, frankly, pretty awful the last time anyone had seen him on a major league mound, back in the early months of 2013. The team had insured itself heavily in case things didn’t work out. It had signed Paul Maholm the day pitchers and catchers reported, giving the Dodgers five starters even without Beckett, largely because Beckett was such an iffy proposition.
And that wasn’t just the Dodgers’ view. It was Beckett’s, too.
The previous July, a surgeon had removed a small rib near Beckett’s right shoulder, alleviating a condition known as thoracic outlet syndrome, the same ailment that ended Chris Carpenter's career. In April and May of that year, Beckett had pitched despite numbness in his fingers, a result of the rib impinging a nerve.
So, back on that February afternoon, after an encouraging early bullpen session, Beckett was still waiting for bad things to happen.
“I don’t think you can help but to expect it to come back,” he said. “Basically, I’ve got to keep riding it out, ride it until it’s not good anymore.”