Josh Beckett begins life without Jason Varitek (by pitching two innings)
|03.04.12 at 3:50 pm ET|
‘I think it’s just nice to get back out there,” Beckett said. “Get the adrenaline and that’s definitely different than anything we’ve had so far, even with live BPs. I think right now it’s just building up. I felt like I stayed strong through it. I was getting a little bit big out of the stretch in the second inning. Just couldn’t make the adjustment.”
But one thing was missing — Jason Varitek.
Beckett is heading into his seventh season with the Red Sox without the catcher he threw more pitches to than any other backstop in his career. The starter joined Varitek as his battery-mate 139 times, with Paul Lo Duca coming in next at 35 games. The backstop the righty threw to in the Red Sox’ Grapefruit League opener Sunday, Jarrod Saltalamachia? They’ve hooked up just three regular season games.
‘You’ve got to learn. You work together. That was one thing Jason and I did really, really well. We worked together. There were meetings where I got my way and there were meetings where he got his way. Being able to resolve those differences and making the right call not because one guy’s too stubborn, but making the right decision because that’s what you’ve got to do.
Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine is familiar with certain pitchers wanting to be with certain catchers — having cited the time his closer wouldn’t throw to his starting catcher in Japan — but Valentine also knows such partnerships, like the one Beckett and Varitek are leaving behind, can take a while to click on all cylinders.
“I don’t think there’s one way of ever rectifying that from the outside. That’s only rectified within by the catcher and the pitcher really feeling comfortable together,” Valentine said. “What we’re going to have, and luckily I have Gary Tuck on the staff because he’s going to help facilitate with this, and Bob McClure is going to help facilitate with this, there’s trust that has to be established and we can’t deal with the blame game. A hit is a hit, end of conversation. A home run is going to be a home run, end of conversation. A 3-2 pitch is a 3-2 pitch, that’s the end of the conversation because they’re working together. But that won’t happen for a while.”
While Beckett understands it’s time to move on, he’s not denying what he’s leaving behind with Varitek was extremely unique.
‘You know, I think it just takes time as far as the signal calling goes,” he said. “I think anybody can kind of, you can kind of get on the same page. They’re going to know what I want to throw in certain situations and what my out pitch that day. A lot of that is just learned each day, in the bullpen, or even through the first three or four innings.
“Trust is a big thing. That’s one thing Jason was so good at it. I knew when he had just a lot of confidence in one pitch. He would go to it and I would maybe shake it and he would go right back to it. I knew he saw something that I didn’t see.”
Latest from Bleacher Report
- Unexpected Trades Red Sox Could Pull Off This Offseason
- Dream Free-Agent Pickups for Red Sox
- Red Sox Free Agency News and Trade Rumors
- Should Red Sox Trade Cespedes This Offseason?
- Red Sox's Most Tradeable Assets for Offseason
- Uehara Inks 2-Year Extension with Sox
- Possible Trade Partners, Packages for Cespedes
- The Write-Up: Henry Owens
- Cup of Coffee: Stankiewicz fires eight-inning gem to lead Salem
- Weekly Notes: The Yoan Moncada era begins
- Cup of Coffee: Ball shuts down Dash offense, Callahan has wild outing
- Cup of Coffee: Witte walks off for Portland, Buttrey goes seven strong for Salem
- Cup of Coffee: Kopech drives Greenville past Charleston
- Cup of Coffee: Gunkel grabs first Double-A win, Craig reaches five times
- Cup of Coffee: Moncada breaks out, PawSox lose heartbreaker
- Cup of Coffee: Johnson goes six strong, Moncada picks up first hit
- Cup of Coffee: Moncada era begins; phenom scores twice in slugfest