When Dallas Beeler found out he had been promoted from Peoria to Tennessee, he was speechless. But he used more than words to keep the Jackson Generals off the scoreboard on Tuesday.
In his Double-A debut, Beeler spread seven hits over a career-high six scoreless innings, leading the Smokies to a 6-0 victory.
Throwing what he estimated to be between 90 and 95 percent two-seam fastballs, the 21-year-old right-hander struck out four without walking a batter.
"You just want to come up here and do the best you can and try to succeed," he said. "Especially being my Double-A debut, I'm very excited."
Selected by the Cubs in the 41st round of the 2010 Draft, Beeler was expected to miss that entire season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in June 2009. But the Oklahoma native made an unexpectedly quick recovery, allowing him to pitch in nine games last year.
"I just tried to do my rehab, and my stuff came back to me pretty fast," Beeler said. "People ask me what the miracle cure is. I just tell them to follow instructions. Do your shoulder work and don't be scared with the elbow. It's gonna be sore, but it's twice as strong as it was before. Test it out. If it's sore, push through it."
Beeler tossed 18 1/3 innings at the Rookie and Class A Short-Season levels in 2010, posting a combined 2.95 ERA. He said that experience has proven valuable for him this season.
"I would say it was a big help," Beeler said. "It was more or less a lesson-learning [experience]. I went up there and left some balls up. I figured out you can't just blow by people here. I started working down in bullpens in the offseason and tried to keep all my misses down."
This year, Beeler put together a 2.08 ERA in nine games -- eight starts -- for Class A Peoria before getting called up to Tennessee, skipping over Class A Advanced Daytona.
"To tell you the truth, I was speechless," he said. "My [Peoria] catcher, Sergio Burruel, was trying to ask me how I felt. I just stared at him."
Beeler only pitched two clean innings Tuesday, but was able to generate outs when he needed them most. He had a runner in scoring position with two outs or fewer in four separate frames -- the first, second, third and fifth -- but managed to escape without allowing a run each time.
Of the seven hits Beeler allowed, only one was for extra bases, a two-out double by Jake Shaffer in the third.
He said he has taken to same approach to Tennessee that he used to be successful in Peoria.
"Just keep the ball down and throw a lot of strikes," Beeler said. "The pitching coach in Peoria, Jeff Fassero, said if you get in trouble, miss down. Just be really aggressive in the strike zone. That's what I come into games thinking."