FORT MYERS, Fla. — After missing his turn in the rotation Thursday because of a mild concussion he suffered Monday when he was struck in the head by a ball, Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett got back to work today and threw 40 pitches in a three-inning simulated game against minor leaguers on the back field of City of Palms Park.
“I felt good,” he said. “It’s a sim game. There’s just not a lot of adrenaline and stuff that goes into that. But I like it when the guys go up there and swing. [It] gives you a little bit of feedback one way or the other. It’s hard to get a lot of feedback if the guys don’t swing, just not a lot of things that correlate to a game unless you have a little bit of something going on.”
Beckett said he will likely take three days’ rest before getting back on the mound for a spring training split-squad game Tuesday against Houston at City of Palms Park.
Asked if he felt he got enough work to keep him on track, Beckett said, “Yeah, I think I’m right there. I wouldn’t have thrown that many pitches. I probably would have thrown less than that, in fact, unless I would have ran into a long inning and even then, they wouldn’t have let me go over so many pitches in one inning.”
Starting off with a 1-1 count against each of the 12 batters he faced, Beckett threw 14 pitches in the first simulated inning, 17 in the second, and 9 in a 1-2-3 third, ringing up seven strikeouts.
“This time of year, it’s good to get a little bit tired,” Beckett said. “And I did get a little bit tired in between the second and third inning, going into those warm-ups. I could tell the difference.”
Asked if he felt any lingering effects from the head injury he suffered Monday, when staff assistant Ino Guerrero hit a ball with his fungo bat off the left side of his head, Beckett replied, “Actually, I’m pretty good. I’m really sore on my jaw and the left side of my head, but I’m pretty good.”
Asked how much it scared him when he got hit on the head, Beckett said, “I don’t think initially I was that scared. I went to lunch about a day and a half later and I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t be away from house without laying down and that’s when I figured out something was wrong here, because I was resistant to thinking I even had a concussion, you know?
“I tried to come back the next day and said, `Oh, I’m ready to get back to work.’ But that day when I went to lunch, I had a little bit of a setback.”
Beckett, who wasn’t cleared to begin normal activity until Thursday after passing a series of neurological tests, said he had only one other concussion when he was younger.
“I don’t think they paid too much attention to concussions back then,” he said. “Now there’s a lot of it, and I think the NFL has a lot to do with that, just kind of being a little more conscious about them.”
Step forward for Gonzalez:
Adrian Gonzalez took 80 swings, a few more than expected, which as another good sign in his ongoing rehab from offseason surgery on his right shoulder.
The final 10 swings were against staff assistant Ino Guerrero, the first time Gonzalez has tried that post-surgery.
“I wouldn’t say I’m easing into it, but it’s part of the game plan, I guess you could say,” Gonzalez said. “I know I’ve got plenty of time and I’m going to get into plenty of games once I get into it. So it’s not something where, as you say, I’m itching [to do]. I’m not going to push myself to do something I wouldn’t want to do or shouldn’t do, so like I’ve been saying all along I’m just taking it one day at a time and seeing how it responds and make a decision from there how many swings I’m going to take.”
Gonzalez was encouraged by the fact he was able to extend his session to 80 swings.
“At any point when I feel anything, I’m going to stop,” Gonzalez said. “But the fact I didn’t feel anything and Mike [Reinhold, the team’s trainer] was OK with me taking five more [swings] was a good sign.”