SEATTLE -- It wasn't right-hander Blake Beavan's arm, work ethic or throwing mechanics that got him demoted to the bullpen. It was his head.
"It's a good time for me to go down there and work on more the mental side of it,'' said Beavan, who, after two poor starts, has been displaced by the recently-acquired Aaron Harang as the Mariners' fifth starter. "I don't think it has anything to do with my stuff or mechanics. It's just part of maybe getting a little smarter, and have the opportunity to learn some things down there.
"I have an idea what worked for me in the past. I'm trying to be that pitcher, and not trying to trick people or throw wrong pitches in wrong situations.''
Manager Eric Wedge said Beavan, 24, needs a sharper focus in a couple areas.
"You would like see him have a little better command of his fastball,'' Wedge said. "I'd also like to see a little more consistent action of his secondary stuff.''
That will all come, Beavan believes, when he sets his mind straight.
"My two starts this year were trial and error, not being able to fix my mistake before it happened,'' he said. "I'm still young. I have a lot of time to learn and get better. I feel my stuff is where it needs to be. I feel like my mechanics are where they need to be.
"I need to get the mental side down, making smart pitches at the right time, not going with your third-, fourth-best pitches in situations you need to get out of. Stick to my strengths. That's something I can learn down there [in the bullpen]. How long I'm there is up to them."
Beavan has an 8.44 ERA, allowing 16 hits and 10 runs in 10 2/3 innings.
Beavan knows he can turn things around. He did it in the season half last season. After his promotion from Triple-A Tacoma on July 17, he went 8-5 with a 3.40 ERA in his final 14 starts (after going 3-6 with a 5.92 ERA in his first 12). He gives credit for his improvement to talks with former teammate Kevin Millwood.
"He told me, 'It's only one inning for you,'" Beavan said. "A lot of young pitchers have one inning that just kills them. You don't slow down the game and you don't figure out a way to get out of that jam. You just keep piling and and rolling and thinking about just getting the ball and going.
"He helped me in the second half by telling me what to focus on and bring confidence in myself. I found myself getting out of jams that I struggled with previously.''
That's what Beavan wants to get back to. That's what he hopes his time in the bullpen will help him accomplish.
Bob Sherwin is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.