PEORIA, Ariz. -- Blake Beavan knows he did everything he could to remain in contention for a spot in Seattle's starting rotation.
The 24-year-old right-hander pitched six solid innings as the Mariners beat a Texas Rangers split squad 4-3 Sunday."I was happy with everything," Beavan said. "That was probably the best I've felt, for the most part, for an outing."Beavan relied on his fastball and he mixed in a changeup and curveball with effective results. Mariners manager Eric Wedge was pleased with what he saw from Beavan."He was in the zone all day," Wedge said.In six innings, Beavan allowed one earned run off three hits, struck out two and walked none. He threw 61 pitches and tossed 18-20 more in the bullpen after leaving.He was perfect through three innings before running into trouble in the fourth.He allowed a triple to Jim Adduci and an RBI double Lance Berkman in that inning."All I'm trying to do is throw strikes, not walk people," Beavan said. "If you're throwing strikes and not walking people you're going to be OK."Beavan fared much better against Texas then he did in his last appearance. On March 6 he gave up two home runs and three runs off six hits in three innings against Milwaukee."Today was a good day for him because we needed to see him go out there and be more consistent with everything and that's what we saw today," Wedge said.Wedge added that the 6-foot-7, 255-pound Beavan is learning to use his large frame to his advantage."He's done a better job of using his size to leverage the ball downhill," Wedge said. "When he misses, his misses are better. Not the type of misses where get in trouble."Beavan is competing with Jon Garland, Erasmo Ramirez and Hector Noesi for one of two spots in the starting rotation. Last year, Beavan opened the season as Seattle's fifth starter. He started 26 games for the Mariners, going 11-11 with a 4.43 ERA."I feel like my stuff definitely better than last year," he said, "just from the mechanical changes I've made."Seattle left fielder Raul Ibanez hit a two-run home run, his third homer of the spring, off Texas closer Joe Nathan in the fourth inning. Designated hitter Kendrys Morales added a two-run shot in the eighth.Mariners centerfielder Franklin Gutierrez played his first game since March 9. He was out because of tightness in his legs. Gutierrez batted leadoff and went 0 for 2 with a walk.
Texas starter Michael Kirkman, competing for a bullpen spot, threw three perfect innings and struck out two. . Mariners RF Jason Bay went 2 for 3 and stole his first base of the spring. . Seattle reliever Carter Capps struck out two in one inning of work. . Mariners ace Felix Hernandez tossed four innings in a minor league game Sunday against Cincinnati. Hernandez allowed three hits and one earned run, while striking out six and walking none on 62 pitches.