All-Star right-hander Josh Beckett, a cornerstone of the Dodgers’ blockbuster trade with Boston a year ago, has declared himself ahead of schedule after thoracic outlet syndrome surgery and expects to be ready for the start of spring training.
Beckett made his remarks on Sunday — the anniversary of the trade — before watching his current and former clubs conclude their three-game interleague series.
The three-time All-Star, who flew in from Dallas on Friday to visit his teammates — past and present — expects to go back to Texas on Wednesday to begin a throwing program that will include three or four sessions off a mound. In another couple of weeks, he will return to Los Angeles to get re-examined by Dodgers team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache.
“There’s still some hurdles to get over, but I feel really good for where I’m at,” Beckett said. “We were looking at eight weeks before I started throwing again, and I beat that by about two weeks. So we’re ahead of schedule right now. I don’t think anybody was expecting that, so everything’s going good. But I think we’ll know more probably when I begin my bullpens. December’s going to be long, so I’d like to get over those mental blocks now. It’s something to look forward to.”
Beckett, was 0-5 with a 5.19 ERA in his first eight starts this season before going in the disabled list in mid-May because of a groin strain. He then experienced a recurrence of nerve irritation in his right arm, causing numbness in his pitching and leading to the surgery that finished him for the season.
“Basically, they cut the rib out of my spine, which was basically where all my the pain was — in my upper back,” said Beckett, who turned 33 in May and has two years and $30 million left on the contract. “Once I got closure on the fact that the surgery was the way we were going to go, my frustration level went down a lot because I at least had something to look forward to.’’
Around the leagues
The Cincinnati Reds called up right-hander Greg Reynolds to start the final game of their series against the Brewers in place of left-hander Tony Cingrani, who went on the 15-day disabled list. The Reds moved reliever Jonathan Broxton to the 60-day DL, two days after season-ending forearm surgery. … Texas Rangers outfielder Leonys Martin was not in the lineup Sunday against the White Sox after spraining his right ankle the previous night. … The Boston Red Sox reinstated left-handed reliever Matt Thornton from the disabled list and optioned righty Brayan Villarreal to Triple-A Pawtucket.