Beachy impressive while Minor works on curve

Beachy impressive while Minor works on curve

Beachy impressive while Minor works on curve
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- While his good friend Brandon Beachy was cruising through the Tigers' Major League lineup, Mike Minor spent Saturday afternoon attempting to get a feel for his curveball in a Minor League game.

Both exited their outings excited about what they had accomplished, but still not knowing what roles they'll have when the regular season arrives in less than two weeks. One will serve as Atlanta's fifth starter and the other will be a part of Triple-A Gwinnett's rotation.

"I feel pretty good right now, whether I make the team or not," Minor said. "I feel good either way."

Minor surrendered five hits and four runs -- three earned -- in six innings against a group of Nationals Minor Leaguers that didn't include Bryce Harper. At the same time, Beachy was about 20 miles away, limiting Magglio Ordonez, Miguel Cabrera and the rest of the Tigers' lineup to one hit over five scoreless innings.

"All I can do is go out there and try to put up zeros," Beachy said. "Anything that happens, is out of my hands. If I get the job, that's awesome. If I don't, I understand completely. Mike's a great pitcher. It's not really for me to worry about at this point."

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Based on Saturday's results, Beachy might seem like the favorite in the battle for the fifth spot. But to Minor's credit, he didn't approach this latest assignment feeling the need to produce an impressive line.

Instead the 23-year-old left-hander took advantage of the chance to work on his curveball, which has proven inconsistent since the start of last year.

"Overall I feel like I accomplished something today," Minor said. "I didn't really worry about the numbers or the outcome. It was more or less the pitch outcome. I didn't care if they hit it. My stuff just felt a lot better today."

While Gonzalez and pitching coach Roger McDowell were in Lakeland watching Beachy's game, highly respected pitching instructor Dave Wallace was watching Minor work on his curveball on one of the back fields.

"If I threw a bad one, I doubled up and threw a good one," Minor said. "I'd say about 80 percent of them were strikes today. Today I felt like I could throw it with some effort, and when I wanted to bury it, I could throw it with more effort."

Beachy, signed as an undrafted free agent in 2008, and Minor, taken with the seventh overall selection in the '09 First-Year Player Draft, have said they aren't allowing themselves to become so concerned with the competition that they overlook preparing for the season.

"I don't know if I'm necessarily motivated by him, but I mean, he's a friend of mine," Beachy said. "I like watching him pitch, and he's good. I don't really necessarily need extra motivation to get out there and give it everything I've got. I think I do that every time out. To say there's something a little extra going because of the competition, I wouldn't call that correct, just because I don't have any extra to give on any day."