When it comes to real estate, the key is location.
Without question location was the key Sunday when Josh Beckett made a rehab for the Pawtucket Red Sox who beat the Syracuse, 2-1.
Beckett allowed the one run on two hits while pitching for innings.
He didn’t issue any walks, struck out four and threw 42 of 68 pitches for strikes.
“Maybe he missed a couple of times but for the most part he located all of his pitches very well,” catcher Mark Wagner said. “By that I mean his cutter, curveball, changeups, two-seamers and sinkers.
“He made my job really easy.”
Beckett, who’s been on Boston’s disabled lit since May 19 with a lower back strain, topped out at 96 McCoy Stadium’s radar gun.
“You look to make sure he’s getting out over the front side and being able to stretch his back,” PawSox pitching coach Rich Sauveur said regarding what he looks for in a pitcher who suffers an injury similar to Beckett’s. “By getting out over the front side, that’s where you’re going to get the extension.
“I saw no problems today. He felt good. I asked him after every inning and didn’t hear any qualms.”
Syracuse’s Kevin Mench lined a 1-2 pitch to center field for a second-inning single and Jason Botts pulled a 1-2 pitch into the right-center field seats for a solo home run in the fourth to account for Syracuse’s hits.
Wagner blamed himself for Botts’ home run.
“I think that was on me,” Wagner said. “I probably called for the wrong pitch. It was a cutter so I may have read the swing wrong. But he stuck with me and he still pitched very well.”
Beckett’s most difficult at-bat came in the third when Boomer Whiting fouled off five 3-and-2 pitches before flying out to center.
“We pretty much touched everything we needed that we could see up in the big leagues,” Wagner said. “His stuff was getting better as we went on.
“When we were getting ready to take him out, I thought his stuff was getting sharper and crisper. That’s what was really impressive.”
Good point, considering Beckett struck out Pete Orr to open the fourth and Mench to end it.
Beckett skipped a start in early May with back spasms and reaggravated the injury May 18 while pitching on a wet mound at Yankee Stadium.
Because the injury forced him to alter his mechanics during a bullpen session on June 2, Boston shut him down.
He last pitched on July 6 during a simulated game in Tampa Bay.
“As long as he stays healthy, he should be throwing again in five or six days,” Sauveur said of the likelihood of Beckett making another rehab start.