Beckett throws three scoreless innings

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Beckett throws three scoreless innings

JUPITER, Fla. Josh Beckett pitched three scoreless innings against the Cardinals Thursday afternoon, allowing two hits with no walks and no strikeouts. He threw 30 pitches, 24 for strikes.

Beckett, who left with no score, was satisfied with his outing.

I think I threw everything I wanted to throw, he said.

He faced a Cardinals lineup that featured many of their regulars, including Matt Holliday, who doubled to left in the first inning, and David Freese, who scalded a ball to shortstop Jose Iglesias in the second, the only hits off Beckett.

Yeah, thats a good lineup, Beckett said. They hit three balls hard. Its nice because you kind of got a little bit -- not saying the other guys cant hit, anybody with a bat up there can hit -- but its nice kind of just gauging yourself even this early on.

Despite throwing 24 of his 30 pitches for strikes, Beckett thought his command was similar to his last start, Sunday against the Twins.

Just building up arm strength right now, he said. A lot of the feel and stuff comes whenever your arm strength gets strong and then you can kind of plus and minus something a little harder or maybe take something off.

He said his breaking pitches were just so-so."

"Its getting there," he said. "A work in progress.

He explained that he mixed in more changeups than curveballs.

The game was delayed by rain for 36 minutes in the top of the fourth, but Beckett was not returning for a fourth inning no matter what. He was replaced by left-hander Felix Doubront.

New year, different circumstances, same approach for McDaniels

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New year, different circumstances, same approach for McDaniels

FOXBORO -- A year ago, the Patriots had a unique challenge: Fulfill Tom Brady’s desire to take every snap but also get Jimmy Garoppolo ready to run the team in Brady’s four-game absence.

This year, there’s no suspension looming. But Josh McDaniels still is tasked with getting Brady, Garoppolo and, yes, Jacoby Brissett ready for prime time.

“It’s the same every year for us,” said McDaniels a day before the first training camp practice. “We really didn’t change what we were doing in training camp last year.”

To quibble with the Pats successful offensive coordinator, there did appear to be a change, particularly with Brady’s usage during the preseason games. Perhaps the confluence of events in Brady’s personal life (mother’s illness) and that scissor mishap were driving forces, but bottom line is the program had to be altered. Still, the overall theme didn’t, and won’t again according to McDaniels.

“Everybody is going to get plenty of reps,” he said. “Fundamentals, techniques, all of the things that are basic to our success as we go through the course of the season, this is our opportunity to anchor those in our players so they’ll all three get plenty of reps . . . we’ll just let it play out.”

During OTAs and mini camp, Garoppolo spoke of competing to be the starter. Wishful thinking perhaps from the fourth-year pro, what with the GOAT firmly entrenched ahead of him on the depth chart, but it’s precisely that kind of attitude that is beneficial not only to the player but the entire roster.

“If you’re here, you’re responsible to try to push the people ahead of you so you can get out on the field and help us win,” said McDaneils. “I don’t think there’s a lot of deferring in any room, and that’s the great thing. That means we have a lot of competition and that’s the thing that makes everybody better. “

That competition started in the spring and will continue going forward to McDaniel’s satisfaction, or else. 

“They’ll be things I get mad at and will yell about,” he smiled.

Looking forward to it.

Quick Slants the Podcast: Behind the scenes stories on Belichick and the Patriots with Jerod Mayo

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Quick Slants the Podcast: Behind the scenes stories on Belichick and the Patriots with Jerod Mayo

Former Patriots defensive captain Jerod Mayo joins Tom E. Curran and Phill Perry to give a peak behind the curtain of the Patriots operation run by Bill Belichick.

Mayo talks about becoming a captain, how New England differs from other NFL franchises, what impact Belichick had on not only his career , but life, and how good the defense can be this season.