Beam Cleans Up in Arizona

T.J. Beam owns a career 1.10 ERA in the AFL

For the second consecutive year, Yankee reliever T.J. Beam dominated the notoriously hitting-friendly Arizona Fall League by going 2-1 with two saves and posting a 0.60 ERA with the Peoria Saguaros and in the process, regained his mechanics that helped him conquer the upper levels of the minor leagues this past season.

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"I think everything went well as far as going to the Arizona Fall League to get my mechanics down and get more consistent with my wind-up out of the stretch," T.J. Beam said of his recent performance in the AFL. "I think that went pretty well. Obviously the numbers were great. That's going to come from working hard to get your mechanics right and that's what I did."

Beam, who posted a 1.53 ERA and struck out better than one batter per inning pitched with the Grand Canyon Rafters in the Arizona Fall League in 2005, went a perfect 6-0 with four saves and a combined 1.22 ERA in two stops between AA-Trenton and AAA-Columbus this past season before earning a promotion to the big leagues.

While he didn't fare quite as well with the Yankees, going 2-0 with an 8.50 ERA in 20 appearances for New York, he admits a lack of confidence caused his mechanics to slip a bit in his first taste of the Major Leagues and that's the reason Joe Torre and Ron Guidry wanted him to participate in the Arizona Fall League once again in 2006.

"I think it was a lot of a lack of confidence towards the end of the season," said the 26-year old. "That's when a lot of my mechanics got bad. My mechanics teetered a little bit and that's one of the reasons Joe [Torre] and Ron Guidry wanted me to go to the Arizona Fall League, to get my mechanics back in shape before I get into Spring. That's what I did."

Calling the Arizona Fall League a hitters' league is quite the understatement and Beam now boasts a career 1.10 ERA in 32 2/3 innings in the AFL. So how could the former starting pitcher dominate the best hitting prospects the game has to offer?

"Just trying to be as smart as I could be," Beam said why he's been able to be successful in the Arizona Fall League in two straight seasons. "I knew when to throw what and what the hitters are looking for, just things like that."

"Making my pitches when they counted, being able to throw my three pitches for strikes, and obviously all the good things that happened during the season make you successful and you just carry it into the Fall League."

Rediscovering the mechanics and confidence in the Arizona Fall League that made him such a stalwart in the bullpen in the last two minor league seasons, and with some Major League experience under his belt now, Beam knows he can be a mainstay for the Yankees.

"It was a whirlwind season for me," said Beam. "It was a great season. I got a lot accomplished in one year. I accomplished my dream of getting to the big leagues and now I've got to accomplish making the team next year."

"This year's over and now I've got to make myself better to make the ball club out of Spring Training next year. I think that would be anybody's goal, really. Obviously for some guys it's not as reasonable as it is for others, but that's one of the main goals for me."

"I've been there, I know I can play there, now it's just selling Joe and Gator that I can be a big part of that ball club," he concluded.

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