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Coaching in El Paso, Joe Beimel gets MLB comeback chance with San Diego Padres

EL PASO, Texas - Even while he was having fun throwing to high school students at his baseball training facility in East El Paso, Joe Beimel was still lighting up the radar gun at 90 plus miles an hour.

And while his pupils in El Paso have been impressed, so have the San Diego Padres.

The Padres signed Beimel to a minor-league contract today, assigning him Double-AA San Antonio, officially sparking the comeback attempt for the 13-year MLB relief veteran.

The 44-year-old Beimel has been keeping in great shape at his training facility, Beimel Elite Athletics in El Paso, and touched 90+ miles per hour on his fastball in a recent appearance against the Team Israel National while playing for a group of El Paso All-Stars in Arizona.

The founder of Beimel Elite Athletics, one of the country's most technologically-advanced baseball training programs, Beimel moved to El Paso three years ago at the recommendation of friend and former MLB OF Cody Decker.

Beimel works with El Paso's up and coming baseball talent using a metric-based sytem, but often throws bullpen sessions to young hitters.

With Beimel regularly reaching MLB-level velocities in bullpen sessions, MLB scouts in need of bullpen help have taken notice.

When Decker scheduled exhibitions against Team Israel in Arizona last month, Beimel still looked like an MLB pitcher.

"The games in Phoenix I think got Joe excited," says Decker. "(The) next team that he threw for he signed."

That team is the Padres, who know no doubt hope Beimel can recapture the form that earned him a spot in eight MLB bullpens over the his first go round in the majors.

A crafty lefthander, Beimel made his MLB debut in 2001 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and eventually pitched for the Minnesota Twins, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals, Colorado Rockies, and Seattle Mariners.

Sporting a career ERA of 4.06, Beimel has a career record 29-34 with 379 strikeouts.

Beimel will no doubt serve as bullpen insurance for a contending Padres team, and could find himself back in El Paso if he gets promoted to Triple AAA with the El Paso Chihuahuas.

No doubt wherever he ends up, his school of baseball players back in El Paso will be with him every step of the way.

Article Topic Follows: Texas Sports

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Nate Ryan

Nate Ryan is an ABC-7 sports anchor/reporter.


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