Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Holding a somewhat tenuous grasp on the final spot in the team’s starting rotation, Josh Beckett could be forced to miss his scheduled start on Friday for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The right-hander has been dealing with a sprained thumb which limited him to only throwing fastballs during a bullpen session on Wednesday. MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick relays that Beckett initially hurt himself about ten days ago when he got his thumb caught in a closing clubhouse door.
Behind his teammates, the Dodgers’ early season schedule could work to his and the team’s benefit. Extra off days could permit the team to wait until mid-April before having him make his first start.
Beckett was clearly frustrated when Gurnick caught up with him:
"I come back from thoracic outlet syndrome and this happens."
Last season began on a sour note for the 33 year old. He’d go winless over his first eight starts on the year, with an ERA of 5.19. Los Angeles would be forced to shut him down in mid-May due to a strained groin. Things snowballed from there. Beckett started to experience numbness and a tingling in his hand, leading to plenty of questions about whether or not he’d ever be able to pitch again. Ultimately he was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome – essentially a situation where the collarbone slips forward, out of place, resulting in additional pressure on the blood vessels and nerves that normally lie under it – and underwent surgery in June, ending his season.
To date all accounts suggest that Beckett’s surgery was a success, though it’s tough to project whether he’ll see any lingering effects once he’s back on the mound. He’s thrown 5.0 IP this spring so far, with mixed results.
Paul Maholm figures the most likely candidate to take his place in the starting rotation should Beckett’s injuries continue to linger into the regular season.