Blake Beavan making his pitch for Mariners’ rotation
Blake Beavan, who spent most of last season in the minor leagues, pitched three innings on Monday. He’s making a bid to open the season in the Mariners’ rotation after a rough 2013 season.
Seattle Times staff reporter
PEORIA, Ariz. – Blake Beavan doesn’t feel overlooked or underappreciated. He knows what happened last year and he can look around the clubhouse and understand why he isn’t being mentioned by many as a candidate for the rotation.
“These guys we have here are pretty special,” he said. “It’s good to see those guys get talked about. They deserve it.”
Beavan has plenty to prove if he wants to fight his way back into the conversation.
On Monday, he took a step in that direction, giving up one run on four hits in three innings against the Colorado Rockies. The Mariners beat the Rockies 8-1 at Peoria Stadium.
“He probably fatigued a little bit and got a couple pitches up,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “I thought his stuff was good for the most part.”
Despite his 6-foot-7 size and imposing presence on the mound, the right-hander doesn’t overpower hitters.
“He’s a command guy,” McClendon said. “He’s not a guy that’s going to light up the radar gun. He has to control the strike zone. He has to stay down in the zone and move it in and out. He did a fine job today.”
To be that command guy, Beavan needed to go back to his old mechanics. A year ago, he came into Peoria having worked on trying to pitch at more of a downward angle to take advantage of his frame. It seemed good in theory, but it never led to success. He didn’t have a good feel with his off-speed pitches and his fastball command was spotty.
“I had some OK results with it, but I just couldn’t get comfortable with it last year,” he said.
Beavan made the rotation out of spring training, and made two starts. He was 0-1, giving up five runs in each game, not making it out of the sixth inning in either.
He was optioned to Class AAA Tacoma on April 30. That’s when he made the decision to change his mechanics. He decided to go back to his old way of throwing.
“By the time I changed, it was too late and I created bad habits,” he said. “It was hard for me to get back.”
Beavan pitched out of the bullpen for the Mariners in the last part of the season. This offseason, he worked on finding the old feel of his delivery.
“I feel like I’m back to where I was in 2012,” he said. “That’s when I was most successful. I feel like I’m 99 percent there.”
Those numbers weren’t overwhelming. He went 11-11 with a 4.43 ERA in 26 starts in 2012. But he was competitive and his command was much better — only 24 walks in 1521 / 3 innings pitched.
Two lineups, no Kyle Seager
The Mariners posted two starting lineups for Monday’s split-squad games and Kyle Seager’s name wasn’t in either of them.
The third baseman was held out of action for a third straight game because of a jammed index finger on his throwing hand.
Does he want to play? Yes.
“He’s shared those thoughts with me on several different occasions,” McClendon said.
Could he play if this were in June?
“It’s nothing major,” Seager said. “If this was the regular season, it wouldn’t even be an issue.”
But McClendon made him wait for another day. Seager will likely start Tuesday in Glendale against the Dodgers.
Seager injured the finger sliding headfirst going into third base on Robinson Cano’s single in the first inning of the first Cactus League game.
“Did you see the slide?” Seager said. “It wasn’t exactly a textbook slide.”
Seager’s right palm hit the base hard and the force of his body weight rolled up on to the fingers, jamming them.
“They didn’t even make a throw, which makes it worse,” he said.
Seager said he would make a better headfirst slide next time. McClendon said he would rather see him go feet first.
• Dustin Ackley belted a bases-loaded, three-run double off the wall in center field against the Rockies. He also had a hit earlier in the game and is 6 for 10 with three doubles, a homer and six RBI in three games.
• In Goodyear, shortstop prospect Chris Taylor blasted a seventh-inning grand slam to lead the Mariners to a 6-5 win over the Reds. Seattle fell behind 4-0 after giving up three runs in the third inning, thanks to a pair of errors. Brad Miller also hit a homer.
• Brandon Maurer (stiff lower back) has been cleared to pitch in games and will throw Wednesday against the Indians in Peoria.
• Felix Hernandez will make his spring training debut Tuesday in Glendale against the Dodgers.
• The Mariners will host an open house watch party at Safeco Field for the season opener on March 31, when Seattle opens the season at the Angels. Admission for adults is $1.
Ryan Divish: 206-464-2373 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @RyanDivish