Haren, Beckett face hitters; Maholm close

Haren, Beckett face hitters; Maholm close

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Dan Haren and Josh Beckett threw batting practice on Wednesday, leaving Paul Maholm as the only Dodgers starter yet to face live hitters.

Maholm, who had left elbow issues in September with Atlanta, said he's healthy and expects to throw a bullpen session on Thursday, which still would leave him a few days behind the rest of the starting rotation. He was making throws during pickoff drills.

Maholm was signed when camp opened as fifth-starter insurance for Beckett, who is coming off career-threatening thoracic outlet syndrome surgery. However, Beckett continues to impress and said he considered facing hitters a milestone in his comeback.

"I was a little nervous going in," he said. "Mentally, this was a big hurdle today, more than people think. [It's big] each time I get out there and get over a mental hurdle. I felt really good today. I'm excited."

Beckett was greeted as he came off the mound by Dodgers legend Sandy Koufax, who has worked with Beckett for more than a decade.

"I was standing there with Haren, we were a few feet from Sandy, and I said, 'Did you ever think we'd be pitching and standing here with Sandy Koufax?' And he said, 'There should be a unicorn out here.'"

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