Pirates add minor-league reliever Beam

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The Pirates continued to add organizational pitching depth, agreeing to a minor-league contract yesterday with right-handed reliever T.J. Beam.

Beam, 27, is 6 feet 7, 215 pounds and best known as a hard thrower, capable of reaching 97 mph with his fastball, with a dynamic downward plane to his pitches. He also has shown good control of the slider, his secondary pitch.

He had an 8.50 ERA in 20 appearances with the New York Yankees in 2006, his only season of Major League Baseball, and a 3.59 ERA, 45 strikeouts and 10 walks in 29 appearances for Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre last season. He was non-tendered by the Yankees at the deadline Wednesday.

Beam is expected to be invited by the Pirates to the major-league portion of spring training. If he makes the 25-man roster, his salary will be $450,000.

NOTES -- The San Diego Padres broke off talks aimed at bringing back free-agent center fielder Mike Cameron, then filled that void with a trade for the St. Louis Cardinals' Jim Edmonds late last night. That will take the Pirates' center fielders out of that equation. ... Reliever Luis Viczaino, courted by the Pirates until Wednesday night, signed with the Colorado Rockies, as expected. It was a two-year deal worth an estimated $7 million. ... There were no indications yesterday that the Pirates were one of the nine teams to have inquired about free-agent starter Mark Prior, non-tendered Wednesday by the Chicago Cubs.


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