More mature Blake Beavan to take hill

SEATTLE -- Mariners starter Blake Beavan isn’t the same brash kid that shortly after he was drafted out Irving High School by the Rangers in the first round of 2007 (17th overall) claimed he could pitch as badly as anyone in the Rangers rotation.

The confidence is still there, but the cockiness is gone. Beavan doesn’t make any hand gestures after strikeouts like he did at Irving, and he doesn’t come across as a young kid who thinks he knows it all.

A little more than a year after being traded to Seattle as part of the Cliff Lee deal, Beavan is in the big leagues and making his third start of 2011 and first against his former team.

“Some people have told me that I’m almost too calm out there compared to how I used to be or what they saw in high school, that competitiveness, the I-don’t-care, I’m-coming-right-at-you approach. I still have that mentality inside. I’ve controlled it a lot.”

In the process, he’s thrown strikes and developed a good change-up and is gaining some confidence with a curveball, still a new pitch for him. Through two starts in 2011, Beavan is 1-0 with a 2.03 ERA and has quality starts in both outings. Beavan admitted he wasn’t thrilled about leaving the Rangers when the trade occurred last year.

“It was hard at first, just knowing that I wasn’t going to be able to make my first start as a Texas Ranger,” Beavan said. “But in the end, your main goal is to pitch in the big leagues and it doesn’t matter where it is. That’s what I went back to my focus on. I got over it pretty fast when I started playing again.”

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels spoke with Beavan briefly on Friday, telling him that he was happy for him and that he was impressed by the 22-year-old’s first two starts. Beavan hopes to continue the trend against Matt Harrison and the Rangers today by staying focused on throwing strikes and avoiding walks.

“I try to tell myself, ‘Don’t get caught up by whose name is on the back of the jersey,’ ” Beavan said. “You see these guys on SportsCenter all the time hitting home runs and leading the league in average and if you think about that out there and get caught up too much in that, you won’t execute pitches.”