GLENDALE -- We knew the Dodgers didn't need a fifth starter until the middle of April just based on off days in their schedule. Now it appears the team has an avenue for Josh Beckett to possibly open the season on the disabled list.
Beckett has a sprained thumb, as a result of jamming it in the clubhouse doors earlier in camp.
"I come back from thoracic outlet syndrome and this is what I’m dealing with," Beckett said, per Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
This puts his scheduled Friday start in jeopardy, though that may end up being a decision made that morning. Acting manager Tim Wallach said he didn't have any further information on Beckett.
In Beckett's last start, on Saturday night against the Mariners, he allowed three home runs in an 8-5 loss. He subsequently struggled in his bullpen session, limited to only throwing fastballs, per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com.
The Dodgers do have some time to deal with Beckett's injury should it drag on, as the latest they would need a fifth starter is April 19. He will remain in Arizona while the team heads to Australia, presumably pitching in minor league games as his thumb allows.
Putting Beckett on the disabled list, should it come to that, would give the Dodgers some roster flexibility in a couple of ways. For one, they can carry an extra relief pitcher on the active roster with Beckett on the shelf.
In addition, a DL stint would mean Beckett wouldn't take one of the three exempt spots on the 28-man opening day roster that must be submitted to the league on Friday, March 21 at 7 p.m. PT, six hours before the first game. That's one more spot that could be occupied by a player on the bubble, delaying a decision that needs to be made for either those out of options (Javy Guerra, Drew Butera) or Rule 5 pick Seth Rosin.
But before all that happens, we need to see if Beckett gets the thumbs up or thumbs down on Friday.