Beckett rusty in return to Cactus League play

Beckett rusty in return to Cactus League play

PHOENIX, Ariz. -- In his first actual Cactus League start in almost two weeks, Josh Beckett had his worst outing of the spring on Sunday.

He was tagged by the A's for seven runs in four innings, including homers by Jed Lowrie and Derek Norris. Beckett pitched a simulated game six days earlier, but his previous exhibition outing was March 12. He has 13 1/3 innings this spring, compared to 25 for Clayton Kershaw.

Beckett said he "felt really good" rebounding from a serious case of the flu, but "I didn't have an extra gear. I don't know if it was the antibiotics, but you have days like that during the season and you have to adjust." Beckett will have a final Freeway Series tuneup on Friday night against the Angels before taking the ball on April 3 against the Giants.

"It was location. I got behind," said Beckett. "The balls that were home runs, that's what they're supposed to do with those. In batting practice, that's where they throw them. The hitters let you know."

Manager Don Mattingly said Beckett couldn't throw a curveball for a strike on Sunday, and his fastball is no longer fast enough to get away without a slower secondary pitch.

"He usually can flip it in there any time he wants," said Mattingly. "That's what [Hyun-Jin] Ryu does, changes speeds and yo-yos."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.