Beckett to decide future in offseason

ByMark Saxon ESPN logo
Saturday, September 6, 2014

LOS ANGELES -- Josh Beckett, who was a World Series MVP at the age of 23 and threw a no-hitter at the age of 34, said Friday he is mulling retirement.

The news came after the right-hander confirmed he will need season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum.

Beckett was working his way back from a left hip injury with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but said he reached a plateau in his rehab and was told by doctors that he will need the surgery, which requires about four months of recovery.

"As far as the progress has gone with this thing, I think Donnie [Mattingly, the Dodgers' manager] said it yesterday: It's just not going to happen this year," Beckett said. "As far as the future goes, for next year, I think I'm going to have to think about that and talk to my wife a little bit more."

Beckett, 34, returned this spring after undergoing a procedure to alleviate thoracic outlet syndrome near his right shoulder and surprised many by going 6-6 with a 2.88 ERA in 20 starts, including his May 25 no-hitter against the Phillies in Philadelphia. With his rash of injuries and rehab attempts, he will not have surgery right away.

Beckett, who is a free agent following this season, sounded Friday as if he is leaning toward retirement, but he said he will make the final call over the winter after spending time with his wife and two young children.

"I think the decision would have been more difficult if health had not been an issue," Beckett said. "The last three years have been just been one thing after another for me. When we do get to the offseason, the decision will be tough, but it still makes it a little easier."

Beckett said he had to do four hours of work before games to get his body in position to make his starts this season. He realized he wasn't going to be able to bounce back from his latest injury when he played light catch from 50 feet and was sore the next day.

"At some point, you decide, 'Is this really worth trying to get myself ready for another season when you know the stuff that goes into it,' " Beckett said. "It's not the pitching part that bothers you. I probably felt best on the days I pitched. It's the other days leading up to it. I'm not announcing anything right now. I don't know if the decision will be made before Christmas. It may be the day after the season, it may be January."

Beckett began hinting that he might retire after the season in a TV interview immediately following his no-hitter. He has pitched 2,051 innings over 14 major-league seasons.

A three-time All-Star, he won the World Series in 2003 with the Marlins and was the AL Cy Young runner-up in '07, when he went 20-7 and won the World Series with the Red Sox. Boston traded him to L.A. along with Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Nick Punto in August 2012.

"You forget now how good he was pitching earlier in the year," Mattingly said. "To see him physically break down, I don't want to see it happen to him, but it happens to everyone. He's had a great career."