After throwing to Jarrod Saltalmacchia for the majority of the spring, the hurler tossed to catcher Kelly Shoppach in Saturday?s 7-4 win over the Orioles. It was their second straight start as battery mates in Grapefruit League action.
The shuffle behind the backstop is worth noting because Beckett almost exclusively threw to catcher Jason Varitek ?? who retired last month ?? for the majority of his career in Boston. As a result of the experience, though, Beckett feels confident.
"I just come in and throw to whoever they've got back there," Beckett said. "I think right now they're trying them out with everybody. I don't know what's going to be next. They make the lineup up. I'm sure they're trying to see everybody with different guys. I don't know if [Ryan] Lavarnway's going to catch me next time or Salty or Shoppy."
Regardless of the catcher, Beckett twirled a gem ?? albeit against minor league players from the Orioles team ?? in the outing. Through five frames, Beckett surrendered just two hits, one run, one walk and struck out two batters.
He also tossed 59 pitches, 40 of them for strikes. With Shoppach calling the shots in the split-squad game, Beckett said they made a collective effort to hone their chemistry in regards to off-speed pitches.
Shortly after the outing, Red Sox skipper Bobby Valentine seemed satisfied with Beckett's improvements.
"Well Josh chocked up five innings and he had a good curveball today," Valentine said. "I thought his changeup was good. His location was good. He got a lot out of the workout, thought he held runners well."