Spring Training Game 18 Preview: Beckett To Pitch With Sprained Thumb
Entering their final weekend at Camelback Ranch, the Los Angeles Dodgers appear to have hit a lull with only four games remaining on their schedule until they depart for Australia. Dating back to last weekend, the Dodgers are 2-4-2, looking a bit fatigued, which Dan Haren alluded to after his last start. On Friday, the Dodgers will get their first look at the Chicago Cubs this spring, who had Thursday off after playing 14 consecutive days.
All signs point to Josh Beckett making his third Spring Training start and his first since it was reported he has a sprained right thumb. In his last start, Beckett didn’t appear to have his normal off speed pitches, which may have contributed to the six hits and five runs he allowed to the Seattle Mariners in the Dodgers’ 8-5 loss. The result was a stark difference from Beckett’s first spring start against the San Diego Padres when he threw two shutout innings and had three strikeouts. The 33-year-old’s injury is something to monitor for the Dodgers with Haren sporting a tired arm and Zack Greinke looking rusty in his quest to return from a right calf strain.
Cubs non-roster invitee Kyle Hendricks will start opposite Beckett and he too is making his third start this spring. Hendricks has allowed three runs in five innings pitched thus far. This is Hendricks’ first year of Spring Training experience with the Cubs since he joined their Minor League system in 2012. Despite his struggles, Hendricks has combined for six strikeouts in his two starts.
Yasiel Puig returns to the lineup on Friday after being absent in Thursday’s, instead joining Matt Kemp in an intrasquad game. Puig has been bothered by a sore shoulder throughout spring, but showed no ill-effects in the instrasquad game, going 4-for-10 with a home run and triple. The Cuban outfielder has seen a considerable drop off compared to his numbers in last year’s Spring Training. Through 29 at-bats, Puig is hitting a bleak .172 with a .148 OBP. After 29 at-bats last spring, Puig was hitting .414 and had a .400 OBP.
Friday’s game is another 1:05 PM PT start and will be broadcasted on SporstNet LA. Currently, the Dodgers network is only available to TWC and Bright House Networks subscribers, with deals not expected to be reached with other cable carriers until the start of the regular season draws closer. Dodgers radio, AM 570, won’t carry the game.
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