Beavan could pitch for Mariners in 2011
SEATTLE — Blake Beavan has a chance this spring to make big noise in major league camp.
Beavan is unlikely in the extreme to win a job in the starting rotation right out of camp in Peoria, Ariz., but the 6-foot-7, 250-pound righthander could establish a foothold in the Mariners' memory so that when a spot opens up later in the year, he's at the top of Seattle's list.
Beavan throws strikes and doesn't seem hampered by the mechanical issues that bedevil so many tall pitchers. All of which make Beavan, a first-round choice of the Rangers in 2007 who was traded to Seattle in last July's Cliff Lee deal, someone to watch.
"There is no telling where he could wind up," farm director Pedro Grifol said. "He's a big guy with a big delivery and a durable arm. He's a guy who throws strikes. That's makes him an interesting guy."
Beavan no longer throws in the mid-90s, as he did in high school. What he does bring to the table, however, is excellent control. At Double-A Frisco last season, he issued just 12 walks over 110 innings. His total for the season was 21 walks over 168 innings.
"His best attribute is that he's a big guy who can move the strike zone throwing strikes," Grifol said. "He's got great mechanics, and you can tell just from looking at the way he throws why he was a first-round draft pick.
"The mechanics are exceptionally clean. He can repeat pitch after pitch, and he competes well. Repeating the delivery isn't that easy to start with, and he's got some good stuff to go along with that."
The Mariners project Beavan as a middle-of-the-rotation starter, someone who can give them 200 innings consistently.
"When you look at the guys in the big leagues who give you lots of innings, he looks like one of those guys," Grifol said. "It's very, very hard to find starters who can give you 200 innings, so when you see that kind of potential, you do your best to develop it."
• Outfielder Michael Saunders was back at the Mariners' minor league camp after having an emergency appendectomy. He was moving around well and expected to compete for a big league job in left field this spring.
• Catcher Steve Baron joined Beavan in being added to the list of minor league invitees to big league camp at the end of January.