Anderson talks about Beerer

I told you earlier this month that the Orioles signed six-year minor league free agent Scott Beerer, 29, a former second-round pick of the Colorado Rockies, and how Brady Anderson helped him make the transition from pitcher to outfielder.

Now here’s more of the story.

Anderson initially had doubts that Beerer could succeed as a position player until watching him launch baseballs off a tee during their first workout together.

That’s when Anderson, the former Orioles outfielder, changed his opinion of Beerer and the challenge.

As the story goes, Beerer moved to southern California after briefly retiring - injuries had robbed him of the velocity on his fastball and of his desire to compete - and began working on his swing with Anderson. The Rockies re-signed him and moved him to the outfield, and he responded in 2009 by hitting .346 with seven home runs and 40 RBIs in 52 games at Single-A Modesto and .558 in 11 games at short-season Single-A Tri-City.

“I’d see him in Hollywood every now and then,” Anderson said. “I casually met him, and one of his buddies said, ‘You need to work with Scott Beerer.’ You can tell if certain guys are over baseball and are through. I got the feeling he was one of those guys, but someone told me he wanted to work on hitting. I kind of laughed and said, ‘He hasn’t played baseball in two years and he’s a pitcher. You want me to make this guy a big league hitter in his mid-20s and he hasn’t hit since college? It’s probably not going to happen realistically.’ But I said that I was interested and if he was interested and wanted to do it, have him call me.

“He came out to my house and he hit off a tee. He was hitting line drives, looking pretty good. He’s abnormally strong. I watched him hit and he was starting to make adjustments, and in a very short period of time he was launching the ball. He was hitting home runs off the tee. He’d hit home runs on 20 of 25 balls off the tee. He was amazed and really thrilled, and all of a sudden, he got obsessed with baseball again. You could tell he was enthused, and from that period on, he was working with me three times a week and said he couldn’t sleep at night because he was so excited that he might be able to play again.”

The Rockies sent a scout to watch Beerer work out. Anderson threw batting practice and timed him in the 40- and 60-yard dashes, and Colorado re-signed him a few days later and placed him at extended spring training.

Beerer didn’t spend much time with Anderson in the winter of 2009, and his average the following season dipped to .258 with four homers in 112 games at Double-A Tulsa. Beerer met regularly with Anderson last winter, and he responded by batting .290 with 18 doubles, 13 homers and 42 RBIs in 89 games at Tulsa this year, and .372 with 12 doubles, three homers, 28 RBIs and a .915 OPS in 41 games at Triple-A Colorado Springs.

Anderson recommended Beerer to the Orioles, who signed him shortly after Dan Duquette was hired as executive vice president of baseball operations.

“He used to throw in the mid-90s before hurting his arm,” Anderson said. “He’s exceptionally strong, exceptionally fast. His career’s kind of been a longshot because of how it unfolded and the years he took off and coming back as a hitter. He’s one of the ultimate longshots in pro sports in a way, but he has the athletic ability to pull it off.

“We need bigger, stronger guys in the system. If he had followed his normal career path, he most certainly would have been called up by the Rockies.”

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