It has been a long, strange trip for Drillers' pitcher turned outfielder Scott Beerer. Born on Independence Day, 1982 in Anaheim, California, Beerer grew up playing many sports, but excelled at baseball.
"When I was young I boxed and played soccer and football," Beerer said. "I was a beach kid, so I did a lot of surfing, snowboarding, and skateboarding, but I was best at baseball. I felt like I had a future in it."
Beerer was right. He played baseball at Texas A&M University and was named an All-American in 2003. Shortly after that season, he was drafted in the second round by the Colorado Rockies as a pitcher.
Beerer amassed 34 saves over the next four years, but his pitching career was plagued by injuries. After appearing in only five games in 2003, he suffered a torn labrum in his right shoulder and had surgery on October 10th of that year. In 2004, he finally came off of the disabled list on August 13th and appeared in six games for the Short Season Class A Tri-City Dust Devils.
2005 proved to be a breakout year for Beerer. He recorded 23 saves and 3.69 ERA with the Low Class A Asheville. Later that season he was called up to High Class A Modesto. In 2006, he appeared in 28 games for the Nuts and recorded 11 saves.
"When I first started my professional career, I was a mid-90's guy. After I came back from my shoulder injury, I was just never the same. I could only throw 90-91 miles per hour, and I lost the ability to throw a slider, so I had to re-develop myself as a pitcher. I became a cutter and change-up guy."
After fighting through injury plagued seasons, Beerer concluded that he had no future as a pitcher and "retired" in 2007. He moved to California and began training to become a firefighter. While in Southern California, Beerer continued to work on his swing with former Big Leaguer Brady Anderson. Before the start of Spring Training in 2008, he decided that he wanted to return to baseball, and since the Rockies still owned his rights, he tried out for the club and returned to the organization as a position player.
He remained in extended Spring Training to start the 2008 season and eventually returned to Tri-City, this time as an outfielder. In 11 games, he hit .588 (24/42) with one home run and 14 runs batted in. Because of the hot start, Beerer was called up to Modesto and played in 52 games, batting .346 (66/191) with seven home runs and 40 RBIs.
"I have a position player's heart inside of me. I love being out there everyday and running around. I didn't like as a pitcher sitting in the bullpen, especially the day after a bad outing, and thinking about it. I like being able to redeem myself the next day."
Beerer's transition has been a successful one as he got off to a fast start this season with the Drillers in his first stint in Double A.
Even though he was good enough to be a pitcher, Beerer has always had the dream of becoming a position player. "There are times when I think about being a pitcher, but making this switch is something I've always wanted to do. I was blessed with the talent to be a pitcher, and I learned a lot from it. I learned a lot about myself and the game. I don't regret that time at all, but this is who I am as a player."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.