The Boston Globe’s Chris Snow, commenting on today’s Red Sox/Phillies exhibition from Clearwater.

Nearly had a real dustup here in Clearwater. The scene: In the bottom of the sixth inning Ryan Howard, the Phillies’ terrific young power-hitting first baseman, hit a ball to center off Josh Beckett that Howard thought was gone. It stayed in the yard, and Beckett took exception to Howard showboating down the line while the ball was in flight. ‘Tek went out to calm him down.

Come the top of the seventh, Howard went out to field his position, and Beckett kept yapping at him. Howard walked to his position and kept going, heading for the visiting dugout. He was within 10 feet of Beckett, who was on the top step, and it really looked like they were going to go. Howard is listed at 6-4, 252, Beckett at 6-5, 222. Wily Mo Pena, somewhere in the 245 to 260 range, was two steps behind Beckett. And Rudy Seanez, who trains with ultimate fighters in the offseason, was the first guy out of the bullpen.

Beckett was due up to begin the inning. No surprise: Tito pinch hit Willie Harris.

Beckett, as quoted by’s Ian “I Wanna Be Adored” Browne.

“I’m kind of about respecting the game,” said Beckett. “Even if it is a home run, I don’t think it’s the right thing to do. I didn’t think it was the right thing to do. I’ve never been the type of guy to not say anything just because … That’s where it kind of started, after he was jogging in after it was a popup.

“It’s not like I wanted to fight the guy,” Beckett said. “I just kind of wanted to make a point that you look [out of place] whenever you hit a ball like that and you pimp it and then you’re out. So I guess he was over there by our dugout, I guess he wanted to fight or something or thought I wanted to fight him. I didn’t want to fight him — I just wanted him to know my point.”

I cannot think of a single player in the Major Leagues more qualified on giving lectures in baseball etiquette than Josh Beckett. The fact that he’s gone on the disabled list something like 87 times in his short career for blisters is in no way an indictment of his status as a gamer, top-notch teammate and all-around bad ass.

The Mets’ Pedro Martinez, slowly making his way back from a multitude of toe/foot/shoe issues, was pretty sharp in his spring debut earlier today. Martinez allowed one hit and one walk in three scoreless innings, striking out two in New York’s 8-0 win over the Orioles. That Victor Zambrano was equally impressive in 6 shutout innings is either a sign that Rick Peterson’s much ballyhooed 10-minutes-to-straighten-Zambrano-out took a bit longer than expected…or perhaps an indicator that Baltimore’s clubhouse TV was tuned to the GMU/UConn game. My money’s on the latter.