Dodgers spring training 2013: Adjustments key for Josh Beckett in Cactus League debut

USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers' starter allowed a hit and a walk in his two scoreless innings against the Giants on Tuesday.

Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett made his Cactus League debut on Tuesday, and though his outing was impressive he was more concerned with the process.

"I got my pitches in, and that's the most important thing. I made some good pitches," Beckett said. "I don't think you take too much from the results. I've been working on a lot of things."

Beckett allowed a hit and a walk in two scoreless innings, and struck out three Giants. It didn't go perfectly for him, as even though he struck out his final batter Guillermo Quiroz with a high curve ball, Beckett said he was trying to bounce that pitch.

"Josh was good. I know he was working on stuff," said manager Don Mattingly. "He really kind of falls in line with Kersh and Zack and those guys, in getting on the mound for the first time out there in the stadium, and moving down that road."

But more importantly, Beckett was able to apply some adjustments suggested to him by Sandy Koufax during the left-hander's first few days at Camelback Ranch.

"A lot of it's just trying to get more straight and direct to the plate," Beckett said. "He felt by watching video - and I worked with him 10 years ago, so he has a working idea of where I need to be - I don't think my lines were as direct as they need to be."

Beckett was with the Marlins when he first met Koufax, in 2003. Beckett, then 23, went 9-8 with a 3.04 ERA for Florida that season, and went 2-2 with a 2.11 ERA in the postseason, including a two-hit shutout in the clinching Game 6 of the World Series against the Yankees.

"You can imagine as excited as I was seeing him this year, already knowing him, you can imagine how excited as I was 10 years ago," Beckett said. "He was only there two or three days, but it was pretty special."

The adjustment from Koufax will help Beckett most while pitching out of the windup, something Beckett said he did only one since the end of last season before Tuesday.

"Out of the stretch I feel comfortable, but right now the windup for me, there's still a thought process I go through instead of it being natural," Beckett said. "I feel like it's going to help me get to where I need to be for the season and put me in a position to use my stuff."

Mattingly has talked a lot about having a structure and a plan during spring training, but to structure it for each individual player. Beckett said he has really benefited from the tailored plan.

"I think this has to do with some of the adjustments I have made, it's easier on my body. I threw a batting practice last week, and that's the first time ever remember going into my first batting practice feeling like I can actually put something on the ball," Beckett said. "I think Honeycutt did a great job of personalizing my schedule. We talked a lot about it over the spring."

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