LOS ANGELES -- Josh Beckett gained a new appreciation for his fellow Dodgers starting pitchers as he watched the club on television while recovering from surgery.
Beckett, who underwent a procedure to remove a rib that was pressing a nerve and causing numbness in his pitching hand, said he picked up different things watching on TV rather than from the dugout. Beckett had high praise Sunday for Clayton Kershaw, who is 5-2 with a 1.35 ERA in eight starts since Beckett went under the knife July 10.
"I tell everybody that as good as you think he is, he is better than that," Beckett said. "And that's hard to do, because everybody thinks he's really good."
Kershaw leads the Major Leagues with a 1.72 ERA and is a leading candidate to win the National League Cy Young Award for the second time.
"I know he hasn't been doing it that long, but he could possibly be the best pitcher ever -- he's that good," Beckett said. "Coming over here last year, I knew he was good. But he exceeded my expectations."
As for Beckett, he said he's ahead of schedule in his rehab process. The right-hander plans to start a throwing program Wednesday in Dallas. From there, he hopes to throw off a mound at least three times, take a break and then resume his normal offseason routine in December.
"I'm pretty excited about where I'm at," Beckett said. "I don't think anyone expected me to be where I'm at right now. Everything is going good. I think we'll know more when I start throwing bullpens."
Beckett said he could have started his throwing program last week, but had to push things back because his wife gave birth to the couple's second daughter. He returned to the Dodgers' clubhouse Friday for the first time since surgery.
"It was like Christmas coming in here two days ago and seeing all the guys," Beckett said.
Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.