Dodgers spring training 2013: Josh Beckett continues roll, Ted Lilly playing catch up

USA TODAY Sports

A pair of starting pitchers pitched for the Dodgers on Tuesday night. One continued his path, while the other tried to find his.

The Dodgers lost 6-2 to the Reds on Tuesday night in Goodyear, but the game featured more of the Josh Beckett show, as he has been the Dodgers' most consistent starter this spring.

Beckett allowed his first run of the Cactus League on Tuesday, a solo home run by Shin-Soo Choo in the third inning. But otherwise Beckett continued his spring roll, with five strikeouts in 4⅓ innings. In three Cactus League starts, Beckett has pitched 9⅓ innings, just over a complete game, and has allowed four hits, one run, three walks, and struck out 11.

"He was really good. They've kind of all been the same," Mattingly said of Beckett's starts, which also include four scoreless innings against minor leaguers on Thursday. "He seems like he's even sharper now though. I don't know what it is, but he looks good."

Beckett said the home run to Choo was a curve that just spun up to the plate, but was otherwise pleased with his outing, especially with his new delivery.

"I had a couple of good innings," Beckett said. "I thought the middle ones, two-three-four, were really good. I thought in five I was flying open a little bit, getting long with my arm."

Beckett pitched to two batters in the fifth inning, having reached his pitch count limit of 75. He will have three more spring starts before the regular season, with the next coming on Mar. 18 against the Diamondbacks on five days rest. He said he is happy with his progression so far this spring.

"A lot of this is about getting your work in. Arm strength is going to be key. Obviously you want to work on the secondary stuff, but arm strength is key," Beckett said. "Whenever you get to April that's what you're really working on, to make sure you don't kill your bullpen the first couple of times out."

Ted Lilly entered in the sixth inning and pitched his longest outing of the spring. He allowed five runs in 2⅔ innings, but allowed five runs, including four in the eighth inning, his third and final frame.

"In the last inning I hard trouble getting my breaking ball over for strikes," Lilly said. "It kind of shortened up my pitch selection."

Lilly, who missed one start with the flu and had another shortened by rain, said though he is a little behind there is still time for him to catch up.

"I'm at a point where I think I should be ready to start the season. Obviously there are some things I need to work on, to fine tune. I'm healthy. I can't say that I'm not (far behind) at all, but I'm not to the point where I can't get caught up," he said. "Fortunately for me it's a long spring, because it gives me a chance to catch up."

Notes

  • Adrian Gonzalez felt sick to his stomach on Tuesday, but made the trip to Goodyear and played four innings, going 0-for-2 at the plate. "I would have left him back, but he wanted to get a couple at-bats. With the off day tomorrow, he didn't want to go four days without seeing the ball," Mattingly said.
  • Matt Kemp went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts on Tuesday and is hitting just .118 (2-for-17) with eight strikeouts in Cactus League play. Factor in his 0-for-3 against Mexico in an exhibition game on Mar. 6 and his 0-for-1 with a strikeout in Friday's rainout against the Giants, and Kemp is hitting .095 (2-for-21) with nine strikeouts so far this spring.

    "He just needs at-bats. He knows he needs at-bats to get his balance, and just to see more pitches," Mattingly said. "Everybody was talking about all his troubles last year, too."

    Kemp in 2012 spring training hit .262/.271/.400 with 26 strikeouts in 70 plate appearances, but proceeded to hit .417/.490/.893 with 12 home runs in 23 games in April.
  • Matt Palmer underwent successful arthroscopic left knee surgery in Phoenix to repair a medial meniscal tear, performed by Dr. Brian Shafer in Phoenix. Palmer begins his rehabilitation on Wednesday, and his expected recovery time is six to eight weeks.

Up next

Wednesday is an off day for the Dodgers, their final one of the Cactus League, though Chad Billingsley will pitch a game against minor leaguers at Camelback Ranch to stay on schedule. The Dodgers next host the Cubs on Thursday in Glendale, with Chris Capuano scheduled to start for the Dodgers. Chris Rusin is scheduled to start on the mound Thursday for Chicago.

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