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Monday, February 10, 2014

Dodgers' Josh Beckett throws first bullpen session since surgery

By on 2/10/2014 08:30:00 PM

It ended St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter's career, but Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett is determined to pitch this year -- and soon. The "it" refers to thoracic outlet syndrome. Carpenter has retired and taken a job in the Cardinals' front office. Beckett, though, whom the same condition sidelined from May 14 on last year, had surgery in July to repair the condition in his right shoulder and is now back on the field.

By Keith Allison, via Wikimedia Commons's Ken Gurnick reported Tuesday afternoon that Beckett has thrown his first bullpen session since the surgery. Beckett threw 30 pitches on Monday and felt no pain, numbness, or discomfort in his shoulder, arm, or fingers. Last year at this time, Beckett kept rubbing his fingers trying to get rid of the numbness, an indication that the condition that he had for a while was progressing. That condition is the main factor in his un-Beckett-like performance of 0-5 with a 5.19 ERA and 1.500 WHIP in eight 2013 games. He has fared much better in his 13-year career.

Beckett will have to earn his starting role back once he is ready, but he will get that opportunity. The rotation already consists of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and Dan Haren, and the Dodgers have just signed Paul Maholm. Manager Don Mattingly, though, sees Becket competing for a spot soon. Said Mattingly,
"It's just if he's healthy. Josh throws the ball good. He's been a quality pitcher for a long time and he still has good stuff. How he bounces back, we'll see. We've had nothing but positive reports all winter.... Obviously, it's a competitive situation. We're not handing anything out for anybody. If he's healthy, we'll see." 
Beckett, age 33, has a career record of 132-100, 3.94 ERA, 1.235 WHIP, and 4.1 average WAR in 13 years with the Marlins, Red Sox, and Dodgers. He has accomplished these totals while serving 15 total stints on the disabled list. Only one other time, though, has he missed even half the time he missed last year; most of his DL stints lasted fewer than 20 days.

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