Beckett: 'I'm pretty much back to normal'

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Beckett: 'I'm pretty much back to normal'

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com

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

Neumeier: Clay Buchholz could be important for Red Sox down the stretch

Neumeier: Clay Buchholz could be important for Red Sox down the stretch

Bob Neumeier explains why he thinks Clay Buchholz will ultimately end up being key for the Boston Red Sox down the stretch even if it is just a bullpen role.

Sandoval happy to return to the field after shoulder surgery

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Sandoval happy to return to the field after shoulder surgery

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- For the first time in months, Pablo Sandoval met up with his Red Sox teammates Wednesday, breaking from his rehab program two hours away in Fort Myers.

Sandoval, who underwent shoulder surgery in April to repair a torn labrum, has been working out six days per week at the club's spring training complex and appeared noticeably lighter.

"I just starting taking ground balls two days ago,'' said Sandoval. "I feel a little better. I'm happy to be back here with my teammates and happy that I'm starting to work in the field.'' 

Sandoval said his surgically repaired left shoulder is "not back to normal, but it's feeling a lot better. I've started doing a lot of things in the field -- ground balls, playing catch, handling the ball, working out.''

He plans to see Dr. James Andrews soon, and hopes to get clearance to start swinging a bat.

Sandoval appeared to make some veiled references to his weight and conditioning, saying "you learn a lot. You learn from all the mistakes you make, all the things in the past. I have good people around me, supporting me every single day.''

He added that he feels "way different'' than he did in spring training.

"Now that I've learned my lesson,'' he said, "I can do a better job out there. Everything out there is not easy. You have to work hard to learn all the things you were doing wrong. I'll keep working hard and do everything I can to be a better person on the field and off the field.''

As he grinds through conditioning and rehab, Sandoval said he's motivated by "my little boy (Leon). Every time I wake up, I want to do everything for (him), so he can see me back on the field, playing baseball.''

He deflected a question when asked what role he envisioned for himself next February at the start of spring training.

"Whatever,'' he said. "I'm just going to do best that I can. I just want to prepare myself to be better next year.''

Sandoval met with John Farrell Wednesday afternoon.

"He's in good spirits,'' Farrell said. "I think he feels good with all the work he's done. To date, he's done a good job with what he's been capable of doing. The one thing that's clear in getting to know Pablo, I see a guy who's got a lot of pride. Maybe things haven't worked out the way he anticipated through the first two years.

"But it's clear through my conversation with him that he's motivated, he feels like he's got a lot to prove. And I think when you combine his ability with the drive and motivation, this has got a chance to prove to be a productive player here in Boston.''

Meanwhile, Sandoval acknowledged that the Red Sox had not seen him at his best in his two seasons with the club.

"I know that I can prove more and do a better job out there,'' he said. "Things happen for a reason. I'm happy, but I'm not satisfied with the things I'm doing. I'm just going to keep working hard, continue my rehab and be better for next year.''

Sandoval said he misses the game, but watches the Red Sox on TV "every single day.''

"This (time down) is a bonus for me,'' he said. "I want to play, but at the same time, I (get) to see my baby growing up.''