Toe callus can't slow down Beckett
Ailment will not keep Red Sox ace from making next start
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The briefest of scares rippled through the Red Sox's dugout in the fourth inning on Tuesday, when Josh Beckett bounded off the mound, fielded a bunt, appeared to slip -- and grimaced.
Manager Terry Francona jogged out to the mound with trainer Paul Lessard, spoke briefly with Beckett and then departed. Crisis averted.
Turns out the source of Beckett's grimace was a callus on his toe that softened throughout the game, finally ripping in the third inning. And the result was an open wound that Beckett ignored as best he could, but upon which he put unexpected pressure while fielding Carlos Gomez's bunt.
"He probably knocked some skin off it, that's all," Francona said after the Red Sox's 9-5 win against the Twins.
"It's just a cut," Beckett added.
It shouldn't prevent Beckett from making his next start, considering that it didn't even stop him from finishing this one. But minor troubles can snowball, as Beckett certainly discovered in the second inning of Tuesday's game against the Twins.
Two infield hits, a bloop single and a walk all vexed Beckett, who kept inducing ground balls but kept allowing baserunners. Eight batters in all faced Beckett in the second, six of them reached base -- two on balls that barely passed the pitcher's mound -- and three of them scored. Slated to throw roughly 60 pitches in the game, Beckett nearly used up his entire allotment in that inning alone.
"I definitely got my work in there in the second inning," said Beckett, who entered the contest having not allowed a run in three previous Grapefruit League starts. "This time of year, you're still trying to build up stamina. It's not good to have a long inning like that."
But it is good to do what Beckett did next. Retiring Joe Crede on an inning-ending double play, Beckett then set down the final seven Twins he faced. He threw 20 additional pitches in the bullpen after the game, bringing his total to 80 -- a healthy number at this point in spring.
It was a successful outing, bred from a second inning that nearly ended his day.
"It was such a tough inning for him," Francona said. "We were really pleased that he went back out and was able to have the third and the fourth -- it ends up being a decent workload."
"I want to keep building up, and, obviously, have good innings," Beckett said. "We're getting there."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.