During today’s Pirates spring opener versus the Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Kevin Correia wasn’t able to complete his schedule two innings due to reaching his pitch count. Prior to the game, Joe Beimel, who was scheduled to make his spring debut, felt some soreness in his left elbow so he was scratched and he is currently listed as day-to-day.
Those two incidents led to Ryan Beckman coming out of the bullpen in the second inning to not only finish the inning, but to come back out to pitch the 3rd inning. In doing so he impressed the Pirates and the sold out crowd by retiring all five batters he faced in his first ever major league spring training game. I had a chance to talk to the 21 year old 2009 18th round draft pick following the outing, to see how he handled the game and how his off-season went leading up to what should be his first season in full season ball.
John Dreker: Congrats on the performance today, did you have any idea when you woke up this morning you’d be pitching 1.2 innings in a major league spring training game?
Ryan Beckman: Thank you, well all I knew is I would be a back up in the bullpen, and when you’re a back up the odds aren’t real good but you just gotta keep your mind sharp and always expect to pitch, so you’re not surprised when you get the call.
John: Well, from listening to the radio broadcast I know you impressed Greg Brown and Bob Walk with your performance. What was it like for you out there?
Ryan: Well when you factor out the increased heart rate, huge adrenaline rush and a near sold out crowd, it’s just another outing (laughs). But all in all it felt unreal. Honestly words can’t describe the nerves/rush you get out there on the mound.
John: When did you find out you might pitch more than just finishing the 2nd inning, and was the 3rd inning any more relaxing for you?
Ryan: I found out when I came in the dugout and Ray Searage asked me if i was ready for another. At first I thought he was just messing with me, until I started trotting out for the next inning, definitely was way more relaxing. The adrenaline was still rushing though. Just gotta keep slow the game down and play and have fun.
John: I know the minor leaguers usually report later, have you been down in Bradenton long and how did your offseason go in general? Any new pitches, or workout changes?
Ryan: I moved down here in January to try and get a head start on spring training and got a lot of work done with Jim Benedict. And honestly the biggest thing I’ve been working on is clearly my mind on the mound. Seems to be working well so I’d like to think I had a great off season.
I’d like to thank Ryan for taking time to do this interview and wish him the best of luck in the upcoming season.