Josh Beckett out for 2014, delays retirement decision
By Jon Weisman
Josh Beckett confirmed today that he won’t play again this season, but he said he wouldn’t decide whether or not to retire until the offseason.
Beckett told reporters today he is not able to get back on the field without surgery to repair a torn labrum and a lesion in his left hip, and said he would probably have the surgery regardless of whether he plays again.
If Beckett, who is a free agent after this season, does come back, he said he didn’t expect to be ready for Spring Training. He delayed having surgery in the hopes that he might be able to come back this season without it.
The Dodgers would have gladly taken a healthy Beckett. It might seem like a distant memory now, but less than three months ago, Beckett was a National League All-Star and Comeback Player of the Year candidate, with a 2.26 ERA, and 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings in the first half of the season, not to mention a lil’ no-hitter May 25 at Philadelphia.
It was hard not to admire Beckett for how he rallied from his injury-riddled 2013 season that limited him to 43 1/3 innings, or how hard he worked in between every start just to get himself ready for the next. But the hip condition is the culmination of 2,051 big-league innings of wear and tear, dating back to his MLB debut at age 21.
Beckett, who has a 2003 World Series Most Valuable Player award to go with a 3.88 ERA (111 ERA+) for his career and a 3.39 ERA (108 ERA+) in 202 innings as a Dodger, was self-deprecating about his achievements.
“Even leading up to this year, I had it in the back of my mind that this could be my last year,” he said. “I did well for a pretty good stretch there. Like I told (MLB.com reporter) Ken Gurnick in Spring Training, ‘I’m just on the back end of a mediocre career.”
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Don Mattingly told reporters the Dodgers have reset their rotation since Thursday’s off day, with Hyun-Jin Ryu and Zack Greinke following Dan Haren tonight against Arizona, and then Clayton Kershaw and Ramon Hernandez beginning the next series against San Diego.
Carlos Frias remains a candidate for a start but does not have one scheduled at this point.
Mattingly was also questioned again on his decision to wait until A.J. Ellis was at third base before pinch-running for him in the 10th inning of Wednesday’s 5-4 loss to Washington. Mattingly reiterated that he didn’t want to go down to his last catcher but felt compelled to only once Ellis reached position to score on a sacrifice fly.
The manager added that had Drew Butera gotten hurt later in the game, when the Dodgers were out of position players, Justin Turner (then playing shortstop) would have had to catch.