Josh Beckett was back at Dodger Stadium on Wednesday after what the pitcher called a “whirlwind” three days in Dallas to determine the course of treatment for the compressed nerve affecting his right arm.
Beckett visited with Dr. Greg Pearl at the recommendation of St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Chris Caprenter, who went to Pearl to have surgery last year to correct thoracic outlet syndrome in his right arm.
Beckett is dealing with a compressed nerve in the same area as Carpenter, but he has been told that he does not need surgery for now.
“We’re going to be doing a lot of aggressive rehabilitation of trying to get the outlet where the nerve and the artery and stuff go under the clavicle and above the first rib,” Beckett said. “They’re going to try to open that up.”
The non-surgical route requires four weeks of rehab without pitching. “Maybe work on posture a little bit, stuff like that,” Beckett said. “There’s a lot of things I learned while I was there with the (physical therapist).”
For both he and the Dodgers, the prognosis brought relief.
It isn’t a season-ending injury unless rehabilitation doesn’t relieve the compression and surgery is needed. Beckett’s diagnosis also identified the reason for his shockingly poor performance — he was 0-5 with a 5.19 earned-run average this season. The Dodgers had not won any of his eight starts.
Beckett only recently revealed that he had experienced tingling and numbness in his right hand the last “five or six” starts.
“It’s been fairly big,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. “Obviously he was throwing the ball good in spring. It’s hasn’t gone well here. The injury had a lot to do with that. I can’t say we’re going to be better because he’s hurt, but we went into spring training with some depth. That’s a good thing, that we have that at this point. That’s been tested pretty good in every year. Hopefully that stops getting tested and we end up settling in.”
The exact timetable is fuzzy, since Beckett will need time after the four weeks are up to get his arm back in shape.
“What’s best for me is to be healthy and help the organization win next year if I can’t do it this year,” Beckett said. “I think I made five or six starts with this. Things weren’t going real well. I wasn’t really helping anybody out by going three innings, giving up five runs, bullpen’s dead for three days, [Clayton] Kershaw’s got to throw 140 pitches his next start. That doesn’t help anybody.”