Many fans have had doubts as to whether or not starting pitcher Josh Beckett will be able to be an effective starter going into the regular season. Beckett missed the majority of last season and in the games he was able to start, he underperformed.
The 33 year old is coming off of major season-ending surgery. He originally went on the disabled list in May with a groin injury, but battled with numbness and tingling in his throwing arm for the majority of the season. This feeling led to Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery and it wasn’t until July that serious measures were taken in order to regain the feeling. Surgeons went as drastic as to remove the right hander’s first right rib in order to relieve the pressure on his nerves. One could understandably have reservations about the starter’s future success.
Another reason for the doubts surrounding Beckett have been because of his disappointing numbers from last season. In only eight starts, Beckett was 0-5 with a 5.19 ERA. Although in his seven starts with the Dodgers in 2012 after being traded by the Boston Red Sox, he went 2-3 with a 2.93 ERA. His subpar numbers last season could very well attributed to this lingering numbness.
Despite all the reasons to doubt the formerly injured starter, the organization is seeing first hand that the surgery was a success. After his first bullpen session since his surgery, Beckett said he felt zero tingling in his arm and assured everyone that he was going to be ready for the start of the season.
After his debut on the mound this spring, Dodger fans have reason to be optimistic that Beckett will be ready to make a comeback in the regular season. In his first start since the surgery, he allowed just one hit and struck out three batters in just two innings against the San Diego Padres. This solid outing is helping the righty’s case in trying to solidify his role as the number five starter and he’ll continue to be able to prove himself in the two weeks left of Spring Training games.
Behind Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, and new Dodger Dan Haren, Beckett came into camp thinking he would be competing with newly acquired Paul Maholm for the fifth spot. Despite the addition of Maholm, it’s looking more and more likely that Beckett will be locking up the number five spot and that Maholm will be valued as added insurance for the Dodgers. However, when Chad Billingsely returns in May or June, the two injured starters from last season could be competing against each other for a spot in the rotation.
All in all, it seems as though Beckett will be making his way into the rotation at the start of the regular season. As long as he remains healthy, he’ll be a solid addition to an already stacked rotation.