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Josh Beckett, Dodgers' overlooked starter, strong in first outing

February 26, 2013|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Josh Beckett held the Giants to just one hit over two innings and struck out three in his first start of spring training.
Josh Beckett held the Giants to just one hit over two innings and struck out… (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated…)

Most of the Dodgers’ pitching focus this spring has been elsewhere.

Chad Billingsley’s elbow, Clayton Kershaw’s hip, Hyun-Jin Ryu and the great unknown, Zack Greinke being the $147-million new guy, where Ted Lilly, Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang will ultimately fit in.

And then there’s Josh Beckett, former ace, sort of hanging around at the back of the rotation, presumed fifth starter.

Beckett, 32, made his first appearance of the spring Tuesday in the Dodgers’ 8-8 tie with the Giants at Camelback Ranch, throwing two nice innings.

Beckett went a combined 7-14 with a 4.65 ERA last season, which seemed a long way removed from his 20-7, 3.27-ERA season of 2007. Manager Don Mattingly had at least expressed some concern about the number of innings (nearly 1,900) Beckett has thrown as he prepares to start his 12th major-league season.

But Beckett went 2-3 with a 2.93 ERA in seven starts with the Dodgers after coming over in that late August blockbuster trade with the Red Sox. He’s in that place of his career where he’s lost some velocity on his fastball but trying to make up for it with advanced pitching knowledge.

He got his spring off to a nice start Tuesday, holding the Giants scoreless and to one hit in two innings. He walked one and struck out three.

Tuesday’s offense was led by a three-run homer from Alex Castellanos, Ex-Angel Jeremy Moore had two  doubles and Skip Schumaker doubled in two runs (in a five-run second in which Juan Uribe accounted for all three outs).

Kenley Jansen added one inning of scoreless relief, but new left-handed reliever J.P. Howell was hit for two runs in his one inning, and closer Brandon League for one run.

The Giants scored four in the ninth to tie it on two-run homers by Brock Bond and Brett Pill (his second).

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