Spring Q&A With Eric Beaulac

Eric Beaulac is another cog in last year's Savannah rotation that will move on to St. Lucie in 2010. The new season projects to be a very important one for Beaulac, but the third-year right-hander feels very confident thanks to the development of a needed third pitch. He spoke about his work to fine tune that pitch, spring training, and more in this exclusive Q&A with Inside Pitch.

InsidePitchMagazine.com: First off, what was your offseason like? What did you spend your time working on?

Eric Beaulac: The offseason was real good. It's always nice to get that rest but after a month or so I got that itch to start working again. My offseason was mostly spent finding my changeup. I worked a lot on that and things to seem to be getting better with the changeup. I'm getting much more comfortable with it. I've got two grips now and I've been rolling.

I also worked to put weight on during the offseason because the organization wanted me to. I'm up to 204 pounds when last year I was pitching at 195 pounds. Putting weight on and working on the changeup, that's how I spent my offseason.

Inside Pitch: What's been different about the changeup? What were you not doing before with it that you are doing now?

Beaulac: It was all confidence. I needed to throw it over and over again until I got the feel for it. I started gaining confidence with towards the end of last season which was huge going into the offseason. I finally started to get it when the season ended. It was mostly confidence, repetition and just throwing it, throwing it, and throwing it some more.

Inside Pitch: You mentioned two grips. Are you throwing both a circle-changeup and a straight changeup? What's the technique?

Beaulac: One is a circle-changeup with two-seam movement so that it runs away from left-handers. The other is a traditional, straight-changeup with the box grip. I go with the circle, two-seam mostly, but Phil Regan has been working a lot with me on the box grip as well. I usually go with whatever is working that day and use the other as the backup. That's better than last year or the year before when I had nothing.

Inside Pitch: When we spoke in the fall you mentioned that you felt the wear and tear of the year on your shoulder. Putting on the weight should help solve at least some of those concerns this year for you, right?

Beaulac: Yea I definitely think so. I've battled tendinitis a little bit this spring, and I have no problem putting on weight. But I also think it was my first full season and feeling a little worn down is natural for any guy in his first full season. I'm glad I got that out of the way and now I know what I'm looking for. I know the signs of when my arm is feeling good and when things might be a little off. I know how to go about things differently to conserve my arm and better routines to take care of myself.

Inside Pitch: How are you feeling about the rest of your repertoire? You worked a lot with the fastball/slider combination the last two seasons. Do you feel you are still making strides with those pitches? Did you focus on those pitches much during the offseason or was it mostly about the changeup?

Beaulac: It was a little bit of everything. I focused more on the changeup than the slider because I have my slider. It was some work with the slider, but it's still there feeling good. I'm not having any problems with it. I'm feeling stronger and faster, and overall my top two pitches are there and feeling good.

Inside Pitch: You got the invite to STEP camp. What was STEP camp like for you and the opportunity to report early and work in a smaller environment?

Beaulac: STEP camp was awesome. They brought in all the big names like Darryl Strawberry and David Wright and Jerry Manuel, and guys who have moved up the ladder like Josh Thole. It was great to hear from those guys who have done a lot more, who are wiser and have a lot more experience. They've all been in the game a lot longer than we have. I felt like I was hanging on to every word they had to say because it's so beneficial to have those guys come in and talk. I just tried to process what they said and run with it.

Inside Pitch: I asked this to other guys I've talked to who were in STEP camp. Was there any one player who said something that stuck out to you or a collective message that you will take with you into this season and beyond?

Beaulac: David Wright said that we should have no regrets. He just reassured with me a message that my father always said to me. My big thing is that, even if I don't make it, I can look at myself in the mirror and now I tried my best if I don't regret anything I've done. After my career is over, whenever that happens-and I hope it's a long time from now-if I know I gave 110 percent all the time and still came up short, I can live with that.

That's a mentality I take with me to every work out, every game, everything. It's was so good to hear guys like David Wright and Darryl Strawberry say that also. Hearing it from those guys and them repeating it, like my father when I was younger, it really wore off on me. It was very inspirational.

Inside Pitch: Over the last couple of weeks, you had a chance to get work in during competitive games both intrasquad and outside clubs. How do you feel about the way you have pitched as you get ready for the season? Have you found the rhythm you want?

Beaulac: Yea I think I have. I've been working with Coach Regan who is an outstanding pitching coach and has an encyclopedia's worth of knowledge about pitching. I've been working with him on fine tuning little things here and there, and I feel great. I feel like this year is going to be a good year for me and the whole team which looks great right now. I think we all look on point and I'm really excited.

Inside Pitch: At the end of last season you mentioned the prospects of moving to the bullpen if it got you up the ladder quicker. How has that idea changed, if at all, now that you feel better about your changeup and have a deeper repertoire?

Beaulac: Having that third pitch gives the hitter a different look and gives me more to work with. Last year I was a fastball/slider guy and I know I needed something else to show hitters if I'm going to move up and pitch well. The hitter just had to think 50/50 on my pitches and now he's another 33 percent to think about.

Adding the third pitch, and having more confidence in my changeup, is playing a huge role in my development as a starter and I'm excited to see where it goes. Adding the changeup opens a whole new outlook on pitching. I know I now have a third option to get out of a jam or strike somebody out when I would always rely on my go-to pitch which is my slider. I finally feel like I really harnessed my changeup even though there is still room for improvement. Hopefully everything turns out the way I want it to, but you never know.

Inside Pitch: You will be off to St. Lucie with the guys you pitched with last year. Now that the season is upon us, have you given any thought to pitching the next level up and that take demands of you?

Beaulac: For me, I think this year is going to be big on studying the hitters. Coach Regan and (pitching coordinator) Rick Waits harped on knowing the hitters the more this year than ever before. This is the year when the big boys come out to play. This is the level where hitters become more intelligent and start knowing you as a pitcher more, and I've got to prepare for that.

I need to have a little notebook going and basically pay attention to every little detail. Not that I haven't paid attention before, but now it's about paying attention and actually studying the effects of everything going on between the pitcher and hitter. I need to study the game more, study tendencies, everything. If we do that as a pitching staff, we'll be very successful because we've got a great pitching staff in St. Lucie and it should be a fun year.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nInsidePitchMagazine.com: First off, what was your offseason like? What did you spend your time working on?
\r\n
\r\nEric Beaulac: The offseason was real good. It's always nice to get that rest but after a month or so I got that itch to start working again. My offseason was mostly spent finding my changeup. I worked a lot on that and things to seem to be getting better with the changeup. I'm getting much more comfortable with it. I've got two grips now and I've been rolling.
\r\n
\r\nI also worked to put weight on during the offseason because the organization wanted me to. I'm up to 204 pounds when last year I was pitching at 195 pounds. Putting weight on and working on the changeup, that's how I spent my offseason.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: What's been different about the changeup? What were you not doing before with it that you are doing now?
\r\n
\r\nBeaulac: It was all confidence. I needed to throw it over and over again until I got the feel for it. I started gaining confidence with towards the end of last season which was huge going into the offseason. I finally started to get it when the season ended. It was mostly confidence, repetition and just throwing it, throwing it, and throwing it some more.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: You mentioned two grips. Are you throwing both a circle-changeup and a straight changeup? What's the technique?
\r\n
\r\nBeaulac: One is a circle-changeup with two-seam movement so that it runs away from left-handers. The other is a traditional, straight-changeup with the box grip. I go with the circle, two-seam mostly, but Phil Regan has been working a lot with me on the box grip as well. I usually go with whatever is working that day and use the other as the backup. That's better than last year or the year before when I had nothing.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: When we spoke in the fall you mentioned that you felt the wear and tear of the year on your shoulder. Putting on the weight should help solve at least some of those concerns this year for you, right?
\r\n
\r\nBeaulac: Yea I definitely think so. I've battled tendinitis a little bit this spring, and I have no problem putting on weight. But I also think it was my first full season and feeling a little worn down is natural for any guy in his first full season. I'm glad I got that out of the way and now I know what I'm looking for. I know the signs of when my arm is feeling good and when things might be a little off. I know how to go about things differently to conserve my arm and better routines to take care of myself.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: How are you feeling about the rest of your repertoire? You worked a lot with the fastball/slider combination the last two seasons. Do you feel you are still making strides with those pitches? Did you focus on those pitches much during the offseason or was it mostly about the changeup?
\r\n
\r\nBeaulac: It was a little bit of everything. I focused more on the changeup than the slider because I have my slider. It was some work with the slider, but it's still there feeling good. I'm not having any problems with it. I'm feeling stronger and faster, and overall my top two pitches are there and feeling good.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: You got the invite to STEP camp. What was STEP camp like for you and the opportunity to report early and work in a smaller environment?
\r\n
\r\nBeaulac: STEP camp was awesome. They brought in all the big names like Darryl Strawberry and David Wright and Jerry Manuel, and guys who have moved up the ladder like Josh Thole. It was great to hear from those guys who have done a lot more, who are wiser and have a lot more experience. They've all been in the game a lot longer than we have. I felt like I was hanging on to every word they had to say because it's so beneficial to have those guys come in and talk. I just tried to process what they said and run with it.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: I asked this to other guys I've talked to who were in STEP camp. Was there any one player who said something that stuck out to you or a collective message that you will take with you into this season and beyond?
\r\n
\r\nBeaulac: David Wright said that we should have no regrets. He just reassured with me a message that my father always said to me. My big thing is that, even if I don't make it, I can look at myself in the mirror and now I tried my best if I don't regret anything I've done. After my career is over, whenever that happens-and I hope it's a long time from now-if I know I gave 110 percent all the time and still came up short, I can live with that.
\r\n
\r\nThat's a mentality I take with me to every work out, every game, everything. It's was so good to hear guys like David Wright and Darryl Strawberry say that also. Hearing it from those guys and them repeating it, like my father when I was younger, it really wore off on me. It was very inspirational.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: Over the last couple of weeks, you had a chance to get work in during competitive games both intrasquad and outside clubs. How do you feel about the way you have pitched as you get ready for the season? Have you found the rhythm you want?
\r\n
\r\nBeaulac: Yea I think I have. I've been working with Coach Regan who is an outstanding pitching coach and has an encyclopedia's worth of knowledge about pitching. I've been working with him on fine tuning little things here and there, and I feel great. I feel like this year is going to be a good year for me and the whole team which looks great right now. I think we all look on point and I'm really excited.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: At the end of last season you mentioned the prospects of moving to the bullpen if it got you up the ladder quicker. How has that idea changed, if at all, now that you feel better about your changeup and have a deeper repertoire?
\r\n
\r\nBeaulac: Having that third pitch gives the hitter a different look and gives me more to work with. Last year I was a fastball/slider guy and I know I needed something else to show hitters if I'm going to move up and pitch well. The hitter just had to think 50/50 on my pitches and now he's another 33 percent to think about.
\r\n
\r\nAdding the third pitch, and having more confidence in my changeup, is playing a huge role in my development as a starter and I'm excited to see where it goes. Adding the changeup opens a whole new outlook on pitching. I know I now have a third option to get out of a jam or strike somebody out when I would always rely on my go-to pitch which is my slider. I finally feel like I really harnessed my changeup even though there is still room for improvement. Hopefully everything turns out the way I want it to, but you never know.
\r\n
\r\nInside Pitch: You will be off to St. Lucie with the guys you pitched with last year. Now that the season is upon us, have you given any thought to pitching the next level up and that take demands of you?
\r\n
\r\nBeaulac: For me, I think this year is going to be big on studying the hitters. Coach Regan and (pitching coordinator) Rick Waits harped on knowing the hitters the more this year than ever before. This is the year when the big boys come out to play. This is the level where hitters become more intelligent and start knowing you as a pitcher more, and I've got to prepare for that.
\r\n
\r\nI need to have a little notebook going and basically pay attention to every little detail. Not that I haven't paid attention before, but now it's about paying attention and actually studying the effects of everything going on between the pitcher and hitter. I need to study the game more, study tendencies, everything. If we do that as a pitching staff, we'll be very successful because we've got a great pitching staff in St. Lucie and it should be a fun year.
\r\n
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