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Originally published March 17, 2013 at 7:47 PM | Page modified March 18, 2013 at 2:27 PM

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Beavan makes most of six-inning outing against Texas split squad | Mariners

Seeing Texas stack its lineup with little-known minor-leaguers wasn't the best development for Blake Beavan on a day he needed to impress...

Seattle Times staff reporter

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PEORIA, Ariz. — Seeing Texas stack its lineup with little-known minor-leaguers wasn't the best development for Blake Beavan on a day he needed to impress Mariners decision-makers.

This was a crucial Sunday outing for Beavan, in a dogfight with four others for two remaining rotation spots in a spring training he has spent adjusting to a new delivery. Major-league teams know the difference between a guy dominating big-leaguers and one toying with a split-squad cast of throwaways, so Beavan knew he would need more than just results working for him.

And while Beavan got the results in a 4-3 win over a squad bearing little resemblance to the regular Texas Rangers, he more importantly demonstrated a grasp of the revamped pitching mechanics the team hopes will take him to another level.

"That was probably the best I've felt all spring for an outing," Beavan said.

And it had everything to do with how comfortable he was with his delivery.

Beavan, 6-foot-7 and 255 pounds, has worked at throwing from a more overhead slot so he can use his height to generate a downward plane to his pitches.

The downward plane makes his pitches tougher to square up on.

On Sunday, he held the non-marquee version of the Rangers to one run on three hits over six innings. He struck out two, had no walks and needed only 61 pitches.

In fact, the Mariners had him throw another 19 in the bullpen afterward to bring his day's count to 80 as he readies his arm for possible back-end work. First, he'll have to beat out most of a quartet that includes Erasmo Ramirez, Jon Garland, Brandon Maurer and Jeremy Bonderman to get that assignment.

And a key to that will be how comfortable he looks and feels on the mound.

"Results aren't really looked at as far as spring training goes," Beavan said. "I think it's more about repeating your delivery, keeping the ball down and mixing in all your pitches."

The changes are viewed by the Mariners as a major step by a pitcher long viewed as simply fifth-starter material, relying on a sometimes-too-flat fastball and little else. Beavan needs to develop his curve and use his changeup more if he's to stick with a Seattle team that has plenty of hard throwing arms with more talent coming up the minor-league pipeline.

"He was primarily throwing fastballs and the league showed him you've got to use all your pitches," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said after Sunday's game. "Whether it be with the secondary stuff or how he uses his fastball, he's more of a complete pitcher now."

Beavan was dropping his curveball in for strikes — saying afterward it has become an "out" pitch for him. He also mixed changeups in with a fastball that generated plenty of ground balls with the downward plane he sought.

"He had a great focus today and that's what he does when he's at his best," Wedge said of Beavan. "He was in the zone all day today mentally, and it carried over to him with regards to his performance. Particularly his fastball. I was really impressed with the way he spotted up his fastball. His secondary stuff worked off that well. He was very efficient. So, it was a good day for Blake."

Beavan saw Ramirez throw a staff-high six innings Saturday. Garland, meanwhile, has an opt-out clause in his contract that could force the Mariners to decide this week whether to award him one of the two open rotation spots.

The Mariners are well aware Beavan threw 152 innings last year and he could be counted on to climb closer to 200 this season.

"It's always good to have that kind of pressure on you I guess," Beavan said. "To go out there and maybe have a little more edge instead of just going out there and working on things. I am working on things but I'm also going out there and competing for a job."

And compete he did on this day, rising well above the level of his opponent.

Texas Seattle
AB R H BI AB R H BI
L.Sardinas ss 4 0 1 2 F.Gutierrez cf 2 0 0 0
J.Adduci 1b 3 1 1 0 C.Wells cf 1 0 0 0
T.Adams 1b 1 0 0 0 Seager 3b 2 1 0 0
Berkman dh 3 0 1 1 B.Miller 3b 1 1 1 0
Mazra ph-dh 1 0 0 0 K.Morales dh 3 1 1 2
Je.Baker rf 3 0 1 0 Ibanez lf 3 1 1 2
J.Prince rf 1 0 0 0 Thames lf 0 0 0 0
B.Snyder 3b 4 0 0 0 Smoak 1b 4 0 1 0
Schmidt c 2 0 0 0 Bay rf 4 0 2 0
J.Apodaca c 1 0 0 0 Shoppach c 3 0 0 0
O.Herrera 2b 2 0 0 0 J.Sucre c 0 0 0 0
G.Miclat 2b 0 1 0 0 Ackley 2b 3 0 0 0
H.Onaka lf 2 0 0 0 Andino ss 2 0 0 0
R.Bolinger lf 1 1 1 0
L.Brinson cf 3 0 0 0
Totals 31 3 5 3 Totals 28 4 6 4
Texas (ss) 000 100 020 3
Seattle 000 200 02x 4
E — Seager (1). DP — Seattle 2. LOB — Texas 2, Seattle 5. 2B — Berkman (1), Bay (1). 3B — J.Adduci (3), B.Miller (2). HR — K.Morales (4), Ibanez (3). SB — Bay (1). CS — L.Sardinas (1).
Rangers IP H R ER BB SO
Kirkman 3 0 0 0 0 2
Nathan BS,1-1 1 1 2 2 1 2
Meek 1 1 0 0 0 2
Grimm 2 1 0 0 2 2
Font L, 0-2 BS, 1 2/3 2 2 2 2 0
J.Yan 1/3 1 0 0 0 0
Mariners IP H R ER BB SO
Beavan 6 3 1 1 0 2
C.Capps 1 0 0 0 0 2
Loe W, 1-0 BS, 1 1 2 2 2 1 2
Farquhar S,2-2 1 0 0 0 0 1
WP — Nathan, Loe. T — 2:37. A — 8,478.

Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or gbaker@seattletimes.com.

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