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.