KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) - Atlanta Braves starter Brandon Beachy turned out to be a dependable five-inning pitcher last season.
In his rookie year, he started 25 games and went 7-3, but he chalked up only 141 2-3 innings. He became known for hitting the wall around the sixth inning and turning it over to the Braves' stellar bullpen.
Entering his fifth year of professional baseball, all in the Atlanta organization, Beachy has never thrown a complete game. After the Braves tied the New York Yankees 5-5 in 10 innings Wednesday, he said he is working on pitching longer and wants to start completing games.
``I am ready to start going deep because that's what they need from me,' Beachy said after going six innings, allowing six hits and two earned runs. ``I am trying to get ahead of the batters. I feel like I can go the distance even (Thursday) if I had to.'
Beachy said something clicked after his third inning against the Yankees that has him feeling he has found what will make him a successful starter.
``I've been going through all spring like it was a long bullpen session, then everything started to come together. I got ahead and I am ready to go now. I learned a lot today,' he said.
After giving up a run in the first and two more in the third, Beachy settled down over the next three innings and retired nine straight. It was his best outing of the spring and manager Fredi Gonzalez noticed.
``I want him throwing about 100 pitches, but they have to go farther than six innings,' Gonzalez said. ``He gets his pitch count up, but we are going to prod him. The most important thing is to get him past the `shot-down innings' where we start to think about making a change.'
Gonzalez said he wants Beachy to be able to reach at least 115 pitches when needed.
Hiroki Kuroda went seven innings for the Yankees, allowing two runs and a homer while striking out six. Yankees manager Joe Girardi has said that Kuroda has solidified his spot as the team's No. 2 starter behind CC Sabathia.
Girardi expects to set his rotation this weekend. Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia and Michael Pineda are competing for three initial spots behind Sabathia and Kuroda.
``Somebody is going to be disappointed,' Girardi said. ``That's the worst part of this. And they have to get over their disappointment and help this team however we ask them to help us.'
Eric Chavez, who has struggled this spring, went 3 for 4 with a double and three RBIs to lift his average to .235. Robinson Cano went 1 for 3 with an RBI to life his average to .204. Jayson Nix and Eduardo Nunez had two hits apiece for the Yankees.
Jason Heyward boosted his spring batting average to .205 with long homer in the ninth among his two hits. The Yankees led 5-3 going into the ninth, but Freddie Freeman walked and Heyward homered to right off George Kontos.
The Yankees put runners on second and third with two outs in the 10th, but the Braves escaped.
NOTES: RHP Tommy Hanson is lined up to be Atlanta's opening-day starter April 5 against the Mets in New York. Hanson will start Saturday in his final exhibition outing, which would leave him the usual four days of rest before his next start. ... RHP Tim Hudson, recovering from back surgery, is scheduled to pitch two innings in Monday's exhibition finale against the Mets. It will mark his first appearance of the spring. ... The Braves agreed to send cash to the Chicago White Sox in return for minor league OF Christian Marrero. ... OF Jack Cust, who signed a one-year, non-guaranteed, $600,000 contract with the Astros in the offseason that included an option for 2013, was released by Houston after going 1 for 25 with eight strikeouts this spring. He is expected to sign a minor league deal with the Yankees. Cust has 105 career homers, including 33 in 2008 with Oakland. ... The Yankees claimed C Craig Tatum off waivers from Arizona. Tatum hit .195 with three doubles and seven RBIs in 31 games for Baltimore last season.
The Associated Press News Service
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