Josh Beckett Tries to Develop Rapport With Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia in First Spring Training Start

by NESN Staff

March 4, 2012

Josh Beckett Tries to Develop Rapport With Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia in First Spring Training StartFORT MYERS, Fla. ?? Josh Beckett is transitioning to life without Jason Varitek.

As Varitek adjusts to retirement, the right-hander made his first start of the spring Sunday with Jarrod Saltalamacchia as his battery mate. Beckett tossed two frames in the Grapefruit League opener against the Twins, yielding one hit and walking two.

In addition to testing out his arm, Beckett was aiming to cultivate his relationship with Saltalamacchia. The 31-year-old is determined to develop that rapport with Kelly Shoppach and Ryan Lavarnway as well.

"It takes a little bit of time," Beckett said. "The bullpen, before the game, and it changed all the time, one day I had a great feel for my changeup, and Jason had a great feel for feeling out what I was throwing best, and we tended to go to that more often. One game maybe my cutter was better in the bullpen. He just recognized that."

In the meantime, Beckett plans to offer the catching corps some tips and reminders of his tendencies.

"You try to give them a couple of things that you tend to lean towards whenever things aren't going good," he said. "For me, a lot of it stems from where my head is going and where my front side is. We've talked a lot about that."

Beckett threw 36 pitches, with 18 for strikes. The veteran said he was attempting to fine-tune his changeup in Sunday's stint, but admitted only three of nine changeups hit his intended location.

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