Josh Beckett set to start Wednesday
LOS ANGELES -- As long as nothing unfortunate happens to Josh Beckett's body between now and game time Wednesday, which is no guarantee these days, the right-hander will make his first start of the season for the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday against the Detroit Tigers.
Beckett opened the season on the disabled list after undergoing surgery last year in which a rib was removed because it was putting pressure on a nerve and causing his fingers to feel numb.
The team expected Beckett back sooner but he slammed his right thumb in a door during spring training to delay his comeback. The Dodgers got another minor scare Friday when Beckett twisted his ankle fielding a bunt during a rehab start.
Beckett tested the ankle by fielding bunts before Tuesday's game and felt good afterward, giving back the Dodgers one of the major pieces of the historic trade they made with the Boston Red Sox in 2012 that also brought in Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford.
"We haven't announced it, but he looks like the guy," manager Don Mattingly said of Beckett taking the ball Wednesday. "He did [pitcher fielding practice] today, and everything went well. It looks like he's ready to roll."
Beckett made just eight starts for the team last season before he was shut down. He went 0-5 with a 5.19 ERA.
With ace Clayton Kershaw on the disabled list with a back issue and Chad Billingsley still on the comeback trail from Tommy John surgery, the Dodgers need Beckett to not only return but to find some of the form he had in 2011 with the Red Sox when he posted a 2.89 ERA in 30 starts. The Dodgers have gotten only brief glimpses of that Beckett in 15 starts with the team, three of them in which he has allowed fewer than three earned runs in six innings.
Besides Kershaw and Billinglsey, the Dodgers have setup man Brian Wilson (elbow) and catcher A.J. Ellis (knee) on the disabled list, and right fielder Yasiel Puig is missing a second consecutive game Tuesday because of a hurt thumb.
"It's going to test our depth, but we're not unlike any other team," Mattingly said of the injuries. "A lot of teams have those tough goings."
Anthony Witrado is a contributor to ESPNLosAngeles.com.
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