Dodgers RHP Josh Beckett won’t return this season
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Josh Beckett won’t return to the mound for the Los Angeles Dodgers this season, and the injured pitcher is mulling retirement.
He went on the disabled list for the third time Aug. 4 with a left hip impingement after being on the DL in July for the same injury. The 34-year-old right-hander was 6-6 with a 2.88 ERA in 20 starts, including a no-hitter May 25 in Philadelphia.
Beckett’s first time on the DL was in March, when he had a bruised right thumb.
He doesn’t think he can continue his career without having surgery, and he won’t make that decision until the offseason. He also plans to discuss with his wife whether he wants to attempt another comeback next year.
“They’re tough decisions, but they are definitely things I’m going to have to think about in the offseason that I’ve never had to think about,” Beckett said.
If he decides not to pitch next year, Beckett said he would likely have surgery in May, giving him the summer to rehab in Texas, where he makes his offseason home.
“One of the reasons I didn’t opt to just have the surgery now is that I’m not sure I want to play going forward,” he said. “I would have been out for the year one way or another, so why not give it a shot? Also, coming back from the surgery that I just came back from, it just seems it would have been 12 months in physical therapy. I wasn’t ready to just go back into just doing rehab.”
Beckett was limited to eight starts last season. He had a rib removed in July 2013 during a surgery to alleviate a nerve condition that was affecting his right arm. Neck problems and numbness in his right hand have troubled Beckett for the past few years. It got to the point where he learned how to drive with only his left hand.
Beckett said he’d reached a plateau in his latest rehab and he wasn’t getting any better. He would play catch at 50 feet and then be sore the next day.
“I’ve talked to other teammates who have been through injuries toward the end (of their careers),” he said. “I think most of them leaned toward it helped them make the decision and be at peace with that.”
Preparing for each start had become a grind, with Beckett needing to put in four hours’ worth of work in order to pitch for two hours in a game.
“That was weighing heavy on me, even when I was pitching good,” he said. “The pitching part is not the part that bothers you. I probably felt the best on the days I pitched. It’s the in-between days leading up to my start. It’s very draining to have to do so many things even before you go to start to warm up.”
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly credited Beckett for stabilizing the team early in the season when ace Clayton Kershaw and left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu were on the disabled list.
“You forget how good he was pitching earlier in the year,” Mattingly said. “Those starts he was giving us early kind of kept us afloat. To see him physically breaking down, I hate to see it happen. He’s had a great career to this point. It’s unfortunate he wasn’t able to finish the year out.”