Josh Beckett increased his repertoire of pitches for his second spring training start, and the result was similar to his first outing. Beckett gave up two hits in three scoreless innings but the Boston Red Sox lost to the St. Louis Cardinals 9-3 on Thursday. He has allowed three hits and no runs in five innings this spring. “I threw everything I wanted to throw,’’ said Beckett, who used mostly changeups and one curveball in his first outing. “It’s getting there. It’s a work in progress.’’ Beckett faced the Cardinals `A’ lineup, with the exception of Carlos Beltran, who was out with the flu. He allowed a long double by Matt Holliday and a single to Rafael Furcal. “That’s a good lineup,’’ Beckett said. “They hit three balls hard. It’s nice kind of just gauging yourself even though it’s early on.’’ Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine was pleased with Beckett’s day. “He wanted to throw a few more curveballs, he did. A few changeups, he did,’’ Valentine said. “He did what he needed to do.’’
Jose Iglesias, who is playing outstanding baseball, drove in all of the Red Sox runs with a bases clearing triple off Cardinals reliever Mitchell Boggs. Iglesias made an impressive defensive play in the second inning, going to his right to rob David Freese of a hit. “That ball was scalded,’’ Beckett said. “He’s pretty sick.’’
- Felix Doubront, who is the vying for a spot in the rotation, was shelled. Doubront went 2 innings, while giving up 3 walks, 3 hits, and 2 runs. It will be interesting to see what the Sox do with him as he is out of options.
- New Red Sox pitcher Chris Carpenter made his Grape League season debut. Theo Epstein’s compensation was promptly smashed in his lone inning of work. The fireballer gave up 4 runs in his 1 inning. He walked 3 and gave up 2 hits. Not a great first impression.
- One thing that stuck out about Beckett’s start was his velocity. He sat 88-92 throughout his 3 innings while not recording a strikeout.