The good news was, Josh Beckett was walking without a limp! The bad news was, that had to be the good news.
The Dodgers were hoping the right-hander could make his season debut Wednesday against the Tigers. Hoping because he is coming off a rare surgery that removed an upper rib that was pressuring a nerve and causing his fingers to feel numb. Hoping even a little more because his comeback from surgery was delayed this spring when a clubhouse door was slammed on his right thumb.
Then Friday, in what was supposed to be his final tuneup, he was pitching for the Class-A Quakes in Rancho Cucamonga when his latest setback befell him. Fielding a bunt in the fourth inning, he landed wrong on an ankle and was forced out of the game.
“I don’t think he felt anything major, but obviously I’m not sure about that,” said Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly. “He was a little sore.”
The Dodgers planned to see how his ankle responded by Sunday before determining if he could still pitch Wednesday. For now, it’s still in play.
“Nothing has changed, but we’ll see how everything goes the next couple of days,” Mattingly said.
Beckett turned down an interview request prior to Saturday’s game and was gone by the time the media entered the clubhouse after the game.
If Beckett cannot start, they would either have to skip giving Hyun-Jin Ryu an extra two days of rest as planned and pitch him on his regular turn, or call up someone from the minors. Ryu threw 69 pitches in his two innings Friday.
Stephen Fife and Matt Magill each started Friday for triple-A Albuquerque, which would put either on track for a Wednesday start for the Dodgers. Both pitched four innings, but Magill allowed one run on four hits and Fife allowed five runs on 10 hits.
Friday in Rancho Cucamonga, Beckett gave up three runs on a pair of homers in the first inning before shutting down the San Jose Giants the next three innings and then suffering his latest injury.
“I think he’s frustrated,” Mattingly said. “But it’s something we can’t get too frustrated, just work through it. There’s a lot of season left. The good side — I know he got hit a little bit — he felt like his stuff, his arm, felt really good.”