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Beckett has eye on Opening Day

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Beckett has eye on Opening Day


By Tom D'Angelo, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Thursday, March 18, 2004


FORT MYERS -- Josh Beckett is starting to think about the start of the regular season... and it showed for the second consecutive outing.



The Marlins' opening-day starter pitched four innings, allowing three runs on seven hits in the Marlins' 6-5 loss to Minnesota on Wednesday. Beckett threw 70 pitches, many of which were up in the zone.


"I just missed up quite a bit,'' Beckett said. "My down today was up in the zone. I got to keep working on keeping the ball down.''


In his past two outings, Beckett has allowed 12 hits and seven runs in eight innings.


"I'm just so ready for the season to start, that kind of takes away from your performance,'' Beckett said. "It doesn't seem to affect anybody else, so I would never use that as an excuse.''


Pitching coach Wayne Rosenthal is not concerned, saying it's most important that Beckett is strong when the season opens April 6.


"He's strong, he made some mistakes,'' Rosenthal said. "He can correct them later.''


The Marlins split their squad Wednesday with bench coach Doug Davis managing the team in Fort Myers. Manager Jack McKeon traveled with the rest of the team to face the Dodgers in Vero Beach.


Lowell in the swing: Mike Lowell returned after taking off nine days and was 2-for-5 with an RBI as the designated hitter. Lowell hit a soft line drive single over second base and a routine fly to right field that would have been a sacrifice fly but dropped in for a single when Mike Restovich lost the ball in the sun. He grounded out to shortstop to end the game with the tying run on third base.


Lowell, who has inflammation in his right elbow, said he felt no pain but his timing was off.


"We're taking it slow just because it's the spring,'' Lowell said.


Lowell, who also threw on the side Wednesday, is scheduled to play third base Friday.


Looking for relief: The Marlins are looking for bullpen help and could be shopping outfielder Abraham Nunez and second baseman Kevin Hooper, according to sources.


Nunez remains a top prospect who is expected to be an everyday player in the big leagues. He is battling for a reserve outfield spot with the Marlins. Nunez played 19 games with Florida in 2002 but was set back last season, missing most of spring training because of a strained hamstring. He recovered to hit.311 in 59 games at Class AAA Albuquerque last season.


Hooper is in his sixth season in the organization and hit.266 last year at Albuquerque.

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