And now for the other side of the comeback trail, like the really dark one where they wear all black and James Earl Jones does the scary voice.
Right-hander Josh Beckett, who looked so sharp in his first spring game in coming back from having a rib removed, looked like he was almost under-handing the ball to hitters Saturday night in the Dodgers' 8-5 split-squad loss to the Mariners at Camelback Ranch.
Beckett lasted three innings, giving up three monster home runs and was just generally hit all over the field. He surrendered five runs on six hits and a walk, and did not strike out a batter. Even most of his outs were hit hard.
In his first outing, he did not allow a run, giving up one hit and striking out three in two innings.
These comebacks are not always of the smooth variety. Beckett at least reported nothing was wrong physically afterward, but clearly there is plenty of work to be done before the Dodgers can put him in the rotation.
His current competition for the fifth spot in the rotation is Paul Maholm, who pitched well earlier in the day in the Dodgers’ first game.
Beckett had surgery last summer to remove a rib that was causing pressure on a nerve and creating numbness in his pitching hand. It’s a fairly rare procedure and there is not a lot of history of pitchers coming back from it.
Regardless, he hasn’t pitched in nine months, so it’s not always going to go as smoothly as in his first outing. Although Saturday’s results may have felt a tad too far on the other side of the scale.
Beckett told reporters in Phoenix that, unlike in his first outing when he was working largely on his changeup, this time the plan was to work on his fastball.
“I didn’t know that those guys were in my and Fed’s (catcher Tim Federowicz) meeting before the game,” Beckett said. “They figured it out pretty quick.”
Beckettt clearly needs to build arm strength.
“Well, everybody says that, when they’re in spring training,” said. “But you obviously want to have good results. Nobody wants to go out there and pitch bad.”
Offensively the Dodgers were led by outfielder Joc Pederson, who had a double and a two-run homer, and Dee Gordon, who had two hits, stole two bases (he’s seven for seven this spring) and scored a run. Gordon started at second and is in the thick of the competition there with Alex Guerrero, Chone Figgins and Justin Turner.