Beam Still Playing For The Yankees

Beam is working on things in Columbus to help NY

T.J. Beam has progressed as well as any player in the Yankees farm system this season. The right-hander was promoted to New York from Columbus on June 17th and was later optioned back to Columbus on July 9th. Beam sat down with PinstripesPlus.com to discuss his time in the Bronx as well as his thoughts on returning to Triple-A.

T.J. Beam, 25, began the season with Double-A Trenton before being promoted to Columbus on June 4th. Beam was nearly lights out in Trenton, going 4-0 with an impressive 0.86 ERA. He posted a near 3-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio with 34 strikeouts and only 12 walks in 42 innings.

While in Columbus, Beam has continued to dominate opposing hitters, posting a 2.45 ERA with 22 strikeouts and three walks in 14.2 innings. Runs are going to come at a minimum when Beam is on the mound as opponents are hitting a mere .173 off the reliever.

After his contract was purchased by New York, the numbers were not as kind to Beam in his first stint with the Yankees. He was 1-0 with a 10.13 ERA in eight inning. His numbers fail to tell the whole story as his big league experience is what remains so valuable.

It was only a year ago when Beam began the 2005 campaign in Low-A Charleston. Progressing through the minor league system quite rapidly over the last two seasons, now he has the experience of a major league stint under his belt and his future with the organization is definitely a bright one.

Getting the opportunity to experience playing with big league players is what was so thrilling for Beam. The experience he gained is something he has taken back with him to Columbus.

"Getting to play with those guys everyday was a great experience for me," Beam told PinstripesPlus.com.

It is tough for a young pitcher in the big leagues like Beam to learn under a specific pitcher. Beam agrees and admits he learned how to throw different pitches and how to pitch to different hitters at an entirely different level than he was accustomed to. It's safe to say that Beam did not possess the knowledge he does now in his career, a year, or even a couple of months ago.

"I really learned how to throw different types of pitches and how to pitch to different hitters. I talked to Mariano Rivera about that and everyday he would talk to me in the bullpen and Scott Proctor is also a guy who I talked a lot with. It was really nice because they were willing to help the young guys," said Beam.

Beam notes the biggest difference in a big league ballplayer is discipline. A fairly decent pitch at the minor league level can sometimes result in a mistake at the Major League level.

"Everybody is a lot more disciplined. You face some guys that have been playing baseball for years like Andruw Jones. These guys are great players and All-Stars. You really don't have a chance to make a mistake and if you do you'll give up a home run," said Beam.

Beam believes his success can be attributed to a combination of pitches in his repertoire rather than just one. He's displayed the ability to use his mid-90's fastball as a tool to setup his other pitches, such as his slider and splitter. Pitching differently to right-handed and left-handed batters has been a big key for Beam.

"I don't think my fastball is my best pitch but I definitely work off of my fastball," said Beam. "I think my slider has come along really well and I'm learning how to throw it inside to a right-hander as opposed to down and away. I've been incorporating my split finger fastball and changeup a lot to lefties and the combination is what makes you effective."

Beam looks at returning to Columbus as an opportunity to develop as a young reliever. The right-hander admits there were some things in his game that Yankees manager Joe Torre and pitching coach Ron Guidry wanted him to work on in Columbus.

Beam realizes that even when pitching in Columbus he is still playing for the Yankees, in a certain respect, and his improvement in Columbus is in order to help make the Yankees successful.

"Ron Guidry told me these are things that we want you to work on to make us successful up here and not necessarily in Columbus because you're playing for us. We'll see what happens, but I just need to be focused down here," said Beam.

Columbus pitching coach Neil Allen believes Beam has not lost stride in his development as a young reliever. He is excited about what Beam brings to the mound.

"I think he (Beam) picked up right where he left off. His confidence is going good right now, he's throwing pitches for strikes and he's working ahead in the count," said Allen.

Confidence is often times the difference in the success rate of a young pitcher and Beam possesses a lot of it after pitching in the big leagues. He has the mindset that if he can pitch in Yankee Stadium against the best, then he should definitely be able to have success in Columbus. However, he is cautious not to become overconfident.

"When you pitch here you get the mindset that if I can pitch in front of 57,000 people in Yankee stadium against the Mets, I can pitch anywhere," said Beam. "You don't want to get too confident and not pitch to the best of your ability because there are really good hitters here too. I just have to stay focused and keep my head on straight."

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