Can Beckett get over his gut?


Can Beckett get over his gut?

At some point, we'll all forget about Josh Beckett. My guess is that this happens sometime next spring, after the novelty of him playing for LA has worn off and the Sox have (hopefully) moved on to bigger and better things. But for now, love him or most likely despise him, how Beckett fares out west is definitely a matter of interest. At least for me. All things considered, I'm more excited to see how the Dodgers do over this next month than the Sox.

Anyway, tonight in Colorado (Ha!), Beckett will make his first National League start since 2005, and no one will be surprised if he's dominant. That's how these things go, right? Did you catch Adrian Gonzalez's first at-bat as a Dodger? And you know Beckett will be dying to step up and shove it in the Red Sox face.

Then again, there's this: Beckett's still out of shape. And you know what happens every time he tries to rev it up these days his body fails him. Like back on July 29, at home against Detroit, when the Sox were coming off three straight wins, up against Verlander and, we thought, on the verge of turning things around. Beckett came out firing and left limping. His back gave out after two innings, like it was woken up out of a sound sleep: "What in the HELL? Screw this."

So I also wouldn't be surprised if tonight's outing is a short one. Even if Beckett might have the fire back, the gut still exists.

And for that reason, considering the altitude in Colorado, I'm almost more excited to see him try and run the bases. Can you imagine if he hits one into the gap?

In that case, only one of three things can happen.

1. The world's longest single.
2. A pulled hamstring.
3. The sight of No. 19 hunched over puking on second base.

My vote goes to No. 3.

(Beckett's last National League start came on September 23, 2005 and he was dominant in defeat.)

Rich can be reached at Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

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Farrell angered after Castillo fails to run out grounder

Farrell angered after Castillo fails to run out grounder

The Red Sox signed Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract bn August 2014. Over parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old has a .679 OPS across 337 plate appearances in the majors and spent the vast majority of the 2016 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.

Castillo had a chance to start things off on the right foot in 2017, but that ship has already sailed. On Thursday against Northeastern at JetBlue Park, Castillo didn’t run out a routine ground ball. He claims he lost track of the outs. Manager John Farrell isn’t happy about the situation. Via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald:

“Disappointing for a couple of reasons,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “One, he has lost the number of outs. Still, regardless of another of outs, getting down the line is controllable. And for a player in his situation, every little aspect of the game is important. That’s something that was addressed in the moment. He needs to execute the game situation. And for that matter, every player. But that one obviously stood out.”

Everyone always makes far too big a deal about running out grounders. It’s a real nit to pick when it’s February 23 and your team just finished playing an exhibition game that is even more meaningless than the other exhibition games that will be played in the coming month.

That being said, Castillo has to prove himself to merit inclusion on the 25-man roster and that means dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s. Even if he went hitless all spring, Castillo could have at least said he couldn’t have done anything else better. But on day one, he already gave his team a reason to count him out.