By DAN HICKLING
SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Josh Beckett felt fine but a little frustrated after Saturday night’s rehab start for Pawtucket Red Sox.
Beckett, who has been shelved for two months with a back strain, said there was no problems with his back, just with his control, after finishing a four-inning (plus two batters) outing in which he gave up three runs on five hits.
“I felt good,” he said, “but not sharp every pitch.The adjustments take a little longer than I’d like.”
Beckett said he’ll return to Boston, and join the team for its West Coast trip, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s back in the rotation.
“I don’t make those decisions,” he said.
UPDATE: End of 5th Inning
This is it for Beckett. Allows a hit and a walk before leaving, having thrown his 81st pitch (51 strikes). Walks off after waving to the crowd. Most of the Sox fans appear to be seated behind the visitors dugout.
He is scheduled to speak to the scribes in about 15 minutes or so, so I’ll check back in after that.
UPDATE: 5th Inning
Beckett indeed does come out for the fifth. Bierd warming up again, too, so this should be brief.
UPDATE: End of 4th Inning
Strong inning for Beckett, who took 11 pitches (he’s up to 71) to retire the side. The last one, Pete Orr, came on a grounder on which he had to cover first. And he did get a couple curves over for strikes, as well, so he should be encouraged by that.
Not sure yet if this is it for Beckett, as Bierd was warming up. The best guess is that he might come out for at least a couple more batters.
UPDATE: End of 3rd Inning
Third inning is in the books for Beckett, and this one was a little rocky. He gave up two runs on three hits, including a solo homer to the No. 9 hitter, Carlos Maldonado. Maldonado lined a first pitch 92 mph fastball over the right field wall. Beckett still trying to find his curveball, and will likely keep throwing it until he does.
UPDATE: End of 2nd Inning
Beckett wraps up his second inning, allowed a two out single, but that’s it. Again went to full counts, twice, but found his out pitch. Having trouble locating his curveball, routinely missing high with his mid 70’s stuff. And, for whatever reason, he’s shaking off Wagner quite a bit, on nearly every pitch, in fact. Up to 40 pitches, 24 for strikes.
UPDATE: End of 1st Inning
Three up three down for Beckett, with one K. He did go to full counts twice, got both those batters to fly out. He threw 17 pitches (10 for strikes), which was precisely what Buchholz threw in the first inning last night. Mostly fastballs, hitting 94 five times
UPDATE: 1st Inning
Beckett takes the mound to a chorus of loud cheers (lots of Sox fans in the house) and boos (lots of Yankee fans too). He’ll face Boomer Whiting, Seth Bynum (who collected two of the four hits Buchholz gave up yesterday) and Chase Lambin.
e is wearing his customary No. 19, meaning Randor Bierd has been assigned No. 46 for a night.
PREGAME: Back for Rehab v 2.0.
Yesterday, it was Clay Buchholz, here, for a tune up with the Pawtucket Red Sox against the Syracuse Chiefs.
Tonight it will be Josh Beckett’s turn. He’s here to work the kinks out of his strained lower back, for what is hoped to be one final time.
This will be Beckett’s second rehab start with the PawSox, and if the plan holds, he’ll work five innings or 75-85 pitches, up from four frames (68 pitches) in his last outing, July 11, which also came against Syracuse.
Beckett will be throwing to Mark Wagner, who caught him last Sunday, and who also caught Buchholz last night.
The other rehabbing Bosox, INF Jed Lowrie (mono), is getting a day off after seeing action with Pawtucket the last two nights.
We’ll check back in when Beckett takes the mound.