CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) -- Josh Beckett's pitches were as nasty as
his demeanor. With one start left before Opening Day, he already
appears in midseason form.
Benches and bullpens emptied before the seventh inning, minutes
after Beckett had words with slugger Ryan Howard. Beckett thought
Howard took too long to admire his long fly ball to center that was
knocked down by the wind and caught in front of the warning track.
Beckett yelled at Howard, but nothing happened during the inning.
Beckett looked back into the Phillies' dugout as he walked off
the field following the sixth. After Howard ran out to his spot at
first base, he threw his glove down, looked into Boston's dugout,
talked back to Beckett and walked toward him. Beckett was
restrained before he stepped back onto the field and no one threw
any punches or shoves.
"I'm about respecting the game. Even if it is a home run, I
don't think it's the right thing to do," Beckett said. "It's not
like I wanted to fight the guy, but I wanted to make the point that
you look like an idiot when you do that and it's an out. It was my
fault. I should've let it go. He didn't do that last year when he
was hitting a bunch of homers. I guess one season changes you."
Howard, the NL Rookie of the Year last season, struck out his
first two at-bats against Beckett. He has a team-record 10 homers
"I just hit the ball and didn't see where it went, so I kind of
hesitated and looked up to try to find the ball," said Howard, who
isn't known for showboating. "For me, it was over. I really wasn't
thinking about it anymore. But I go over there and he's like, 'Fly
ball.' He threw in some curse words and called me a couple names. I
was like, 'It's over,' but he started popping back off."
Phillies starter Cory Lidle pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowing
three runs and seven hits.
Graffanino hit a solo homer in the first.
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