Beckett headed to Atlanta to pitch in Futures Game
Author(s): Joe Bush Daily Herald Sports Writer
Date: July 5, 2000
Page: 7Section: Sports
The major-league contract Josh Beckett signed late last summer guaranteed him a shot with the Florida Marlins in a couple years, regardless of how he performs in the minors.
He'll pitch in a big-league park much sooner than that.
Beckett is on the U.S. roster for the second annual Futures Game, a contest pitting the minors' top prospects from the U.S. versus those from the rest of the world. The game is played on the eve of the major- league All-Star Game, this year at Atlanta's Turner Field. The players are picked by Baseball America, with help from the game's insiders.
Beckett, Florida's top-round draft pick last year and the second player selected overall, will leave the Cougars on July 8 from Peoria, meet up with his agent, Mike Moye, who lives in Atlanta, and report to the stadium early July 9. He'll pitch a minimal amount, then take in the major-league showcase with his girlfriend and family the next night.
When it was suggested that Beckett - one of two Midwest Leaguers in the Futures Game - is on the roster because of his potential rather than his performance thus far, he's quick to defend his numbers, though he does realize his status as a highly touted prospect.
Beckett missed six weeks with shoulder tendinitis, and is sporting a 1-3 record with a 2.12 ERA, 39 strikeouts and 11 walks.
"Basically my win-loss record are the only really bad numbers," Beckett said. "My walks to strikeout are OK, my ERA wasn't that bad until I gave up 2 runs in the last game (a July 2 loss), but yeah, I think it was actually more on where I was drafted."
Just as the Cougars (pitchers Bryan Moore and Jorge Cordova and catcher Dominic Woody) who played in the Marlins exhibition against Double A Portland last Friday looked forward to seeing some old friends as much as the game, Beckett is eager to hang with a couple of fellow U.S. prospects.
Beckett lived a stone's throw from Royals left-handed prospect Chris George, who makes his off-season home in Beckett's hometown of Spring, Texas, and is good friends with Pirates outfield prospect Bobby Bradley.
One major-league acquaintance of Beckett's is red-hot Todd Helton of Colorado. Moye is Helton's agent as well. Beckett is relatively sure Helton will be in Atlanta, though perhaps not as a starter. Because this is a breakout year for Helton, and the fans select the starters, it won't be surprising if Helton has to be picked to the all-star team by National League manager Bobby Cox.
"I'm probably a little biased," Beckett said of his support for Helton. "He's having an unbelievable year."
Moore had the finest outing of the Cougars who played for the Marlins against Portland. The 6-foot-8 right-handed reliever tossed 1 2/3 innings of hitless ball against such Double A batters and former Cougars as Alex Melconian, Joe Funaro, Jesus Medrano and Drew Niles.
Moore induced five groundballs (the first was muffed) and a strikeout. He did this in front of the entire Marlins brain trust.
"Everyone in the whole organization was there, from John Henry, the owner, to (general manager) Dave Dombrowski to (assistant GM Dave) Littlefield, (roving pitching instructor Britt) Burns, (minor-league chief Rob) Leary ... ," Moore said. "There was definitely some adrenaline there."
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