Josh Beckett began the 2006 season in a video game commercial serving up a gopher ball to Derek Jeter. Before the year ended, he served up plenty more to hitters with far less impressive resumes. The Red Sox starter with the ugly Reebok mitt chatted with the Eagle-Tribune’s Rob Bradford about his difficult first season at Fenway.
Topping the list of regrets in his first season in the American League was Beckett’s initial approach to finding the balance between trusting a new catcher and trusting himself.
“I don’t think it was a communication problem, but it was one of those deals where I just wanted to get along. I was trying to get a comfortable feeling of being around him while getting to know him,” Beckett said of his early dealings with Varitek.
“I see how much work he puts into that stuff. It’s one of those deals where you want to trust him, and I wish I would have done that more often because I probably would have thrown more curveballs in different counts. I almost felt like I was cheating myself by not saying anything.”
According to Beckett, the Red Sox were quick to classify their new potential ace as a fastball and curveball guy, with the changeup used as option No. 3. Yet, even though he initially didn’t admit to it, the pitcher knew otherwise.
“They were drilling into my head about (the changeup) being too hard,” Beckett recalled. “I don’t know if I started believing it or what. It was one of those deals where you come to a new place and you want to get along with everybody. It took me half the season to feel comfortable to the point where I had to say something. But it’s definitely something I want to focus on this year.”
Bradford, by the way, can be read on a daily basis with his new Eagle-Tribune hosted blog, Bradford On Baseball.
MLB.com’s Marty Noble reports the Mets’ Aaron Heilman wasn’t given a parking space in Port St. Lucie. Neither was Ambiorix Burgos, however, so it isn’t as though Heilman can claim he’s being disrespected (again).