By Maureen Mullen
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Josh Beckett tried to get coaching staff assistant Ino Guerrero to step in against him in his three-inning simulated game Friday afternoon.
We tried to get him to, Beckett said. We told him we couldnt find enough right-handed hitters.
Apparently, Guerrero thought better of it because he was not among the batters Beckett faced in his outing . . . costing Beckett a shot at a little revenge.
Beckett can joke about it now, but getting hit in the head with a baseball is always scary. It was Guerrero -- whose errant hit with a fungo, attempting to get a ball from the outfield back to the bucket behind second base during batting practice Monday -- who inflicted the damage. The ball hit Beckett, who was in the outfield shagging fly balls, in the left temple. The right-hander walked off the field on his own, accompanied by trainers, and was diagnosed with mild concussion symptoms.
I dont think initially I was that scared, Beckett said. It actually took when I went to lunch the next day and I couldnt do it. I couldnt be away from my house without laying down. And thats when I finally said, Hey, theres something wrong here.
"Because I was kind of resistant to even thinking I had a concussion. I tried to come in the next day. I was like, Oh, Im ready to go back to work. Lets get this over with. And I found out that day when I went to lunch. I kind of had a little bit of a setback.
Progressing from the setback, Beckett threw 40 pitches in his outing on the backfield of City of Palms Park Friday. He faced six Red Sox minor-leaguers right-handers Hector Luna, Ryan Dent and Ryan Khoury, and lefties Bubba Bell, Peter Hissey and Zach Gentile. General manager Theo Epstein and Jon Lester were among the on-lookers.
I felt good, Beckett said. Its a sim game. Theres just not a lot of adrenaline and stuff that goes into that. But I like it when the guys go up there and swing. It gives you a little bit of feedback one way or the other. Its hard to get a lot of feedback if the guys dont swing, just not a lot of things that correlate to a game unless you have a little bit of something going on.
Although he has not lifted weights since the incident, hes been able to get in enough work to continue his regular spring training progression. He skipped his start Thursday against the Phillies.
I think Im right there, he said. I wouldnt have thrown that many pitches had he pitched against the Phils on Thursday. I probably would have thrown less than that, in fact, unless I had a long inning, and even then I probably they wouldnt have let me go over so many pitches in one inning. As far as workload, yes. As far as the other things that go into actually pitching in a spring training game are a little bit different, whether it be routine or stuff like that.
Beckett said he got somewhat fatigued between the second and third innings, after throwing 31 pitches, but was not concerned by it.
In fact, at this time of year its good to get a little bit tired, he said.
Pitching coach Curt Young was pleased with Becketts outing, with the right-hander throwing all his pitches.
Just a good workout for him, Young said. With him getting hit in the head with a ball and being out for a couple of days, just looking to see good action out of him, throwing the ball. And it turned into a good session for him. So hell have three days rest and then ready for his outing.
With him supposed to be pitching yesterday, it kind of gets messed up one day. But hell get right back on schedule.
Triple-A Pawtuckets Mark Wagner caught for Beckett.
Outstanding, Wagner said of Becketts outing. Hes got all his stuff working and it was good. It was a good little quick outing.
Compared to the other days Ive caught him this spring , its obviously a work in progress but hes more than well on his way to being where he wants to be. All his pitches to all locations and it was all coming out of his hand really good.
Beckett said although hes still feeling the effects of getting hit, hes almost back to normal.
Im actually good, he said. Im really sore on the left side of my head. My jaw and stuff like that are pretty sore. But I think Im pretty much back to normal.
Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen