From the numbness he felt in the fingers to the career-threatening operation that followed,
The former All-Star has emerged from extreme uncertainty to not only pitch, but pitch well.
But as far as Beckett has come, he isn't ready to celebrate his return.
"I think reflection's for the end of the season," Beckett said. "I'll take this as a steppingstone and just keep pushing forward."
Beckett made his most recent start Tuesday in the
Winless last season, Beckett (1-1) earned his first victory since beating the
Beckett, who turns 34 on Thursday, lowered his earned-run average to 2.38.
Beckett's dependability has been particularly important, considering
"It's been a nice surprise," Manager
By this time last year, Beckett had pitched his last game of the season. He tried to come back, but couldn't. He underwent surgery in July to remove a rib. The operation was designed to relieve pressure on a nerve.
Mattingly said Tuesday he didn't know how much he could count on Beckett.
"That surgery, there hasn't been enough of those to have any true indication," Mattingly said. "With this surgery, you don't really know what's coming."
The only significant setback Beckett had in
That forced Beckett to start the season on the disabled list. But once activated, he has looked durable.
His start Tuesday was his seventh of the season.
He made the longest start of any Dodgers pitcher this season, when he pitched eighth innings April 25 in a no-decision against the Rockies.
His fastball has frequently been clocked at 93 mph.
What has impressed Mattingly most is Beckett's decreased reliance on his fastball. No longer armed with a high-90s fastball used to overpower hitters, Beckett has reinvented himself, throwing more curveballs and changeups early in counts.
Mattingly said the pitcher he sees today is considerably different from the pitcher the Dodgers acquired in a multiplayer trade with the
"It's his growth," Mattingly said. "He has three different pitches that he can throw for a strike and they all kind of work in unison with each other. He's been more willing to use his other stuff a lot more."
Beckett displayed that ability to pitch backward Wednesday when escaping a fourth-inning threat.
With the game still scoreless,
With one out, Beckett struck out