GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) Josh Beckett’s comeback from surgery got off to a promising start Sunday with three strikeouts over two scoreless innings as the Los Angeles Dodgers and a San Diego Padres split squad played to a 3-all tie.
The game was stopped after nine innings. Padres center fielder Cameron Maybin left in the fifth with an apparent injury to his left shoulder.
Beckett allowed one hit in his first spring training appearance since having a rib and muscle tissue removed last July in a procedure to alleviate a nerve problem. He is competing to reclaim a spot in the Dodgers’ rotation.
Part of his fight is physical. Much of it is mental.
”Physically, I feel good right now,” Beckett said. ”Right now, the biggest thing is to get over the mental things.”
Beckett said he has been nervous throughout spring training. He said he had a hard time sleeping before his first exhibition start.
”There’s a part of this that I can’t get out my head: When is this thing going to re-occur?” said Beckett, who believes he’ll get beyond the question and gain confidence with each appearance this spring.
Beckett’s biggest rival for a spot, Paul Maholm, allowed one hit over two scoreless innings. The Dodgers signed Maholm on Feb. 8 to a $1.5 million, one-year contract after he went 10-11 with a 4.41 ERA in Atlanta last season.
Maholm missed a bullpen session Feb. 20 with tenderness in his left elbow. He said he felt strong Sunday.
”If you pitch well and stay healthy, things work themselves out,” Maholm said.
Yasiel Puig, in the leadoff spot for the first time this spring, helped the Dodgers to a 2-0 lead with a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning. Dee Gordon added an RBI triple in the seventh.
Alexi Amarista hit an RBI single for the Padres.
Padres: In his first appearance this spring, Robbie Erlin gave up a run on two hits and walked one in two innings. Erlin is competing with Burch Smith for a spot in the bullpen, according to San Diego manager Bud Black.
Dodgers: Beckett didn’t know what kind of velocity he had. But his three strikeouts told him it was fast enough. ”I’ll take three strikeouts anytime,” he said.
Padres: Maybin got hurt on a diving catch in the fourth.
In evident pain, Maybin dropped his glove and grabbed his shoulder. But he was back on the field for the fifth before heading to the clubhouse. He is scheduled to have an MRI on Monday, the Padres said.
Dodgers: Chad Billingsley felt soreness in his right elbow after throwing curveballs for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery on April 25.
”They said to expect soreness,” he said. ”It’s normal. My forearm is a little tight, but they say that’s expected.”
The Dodgers are hopeful Billingsley will be ready to pitch by mid-May.
Not much changed with the condition of Zack Greinke’s strained right calf. Greinke, injured while throwing only four pitches Thursday, played catch.
”Today is a lot like yesterday,” manager Don Mattingly said. ”We’re trying to keep timetables out of it. He’ll play catch to keep his arm moving without putting a lot of stress on the leg.”
CASH FOR SELLERS
The Dodgers sent infielder Justin Sellers to the Cleveland Indians for cash. Sellers was among the possibilities at second base for the Dodgers, but he was re-assigned when they signed Cuban shortstop Erisbel Arrueberrena on Feb 22.