CHICAGO | It’s all about new roles and trends for the White Sox as the numbing losses mount for 2013.
Gordon Beckham started perhaps an extended term as the No. 2 hitter Sunday in the Sox’s 5-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins. Finally fulfilling longtime projections for his offensive game, Beckham also has been talked about for years as a prototype second-place hitter.
“Probably,” manager Robin Ventura said of Beckham working near the top of the order after batting much further down – including ninth most of 2012 – during his five-season Sox career.
“I think again you can mess with the lineup even more now,” Ventura said. “Gordon led off (Saturday). There’s time to kind of move guys around and just see what fits … He can bat pretty much anywhere in the lineup.”
Beckham finally dipped under .300 after an 0-for-4 performance Sunday. He walked a career-high four times Saturday.
“I’ve batted (second) before, so it’s not much of a change for me,” he said. “I’ve hit there enough so I know what I should be doing. I think I’ve got a pretty good idea what my swing should be. Usually, the second guy can put the ball in play and get some hits. And a lot of them usually hit for some power, too. I think it lines up pretty well.”
Beckham seems solid going into 2014. Who would bat in front of him as leadoff hitter is up for question.
Incumbent Alejandro De Aza dug a deeper hole for himself after doubling to lead off the third in the Sox’s best shot against Twins starter Kevin Correia.
Beckham grounded to short – right in front of De Aza. But he inexplicably took off for third. De Aza was easily thrown out, the latest in series of baserunning mistakes by the outfielder.
“If it’s in front of you, you’re supposed to go back,” Ventura said. “It’s a mistake.”
In contrast, newcomer Avisail Garcia showed some legitimate hustle in the second. Flashing his well-documented speed, he beat out a grounder up the middle, then stole second. But he was stranded.
Garcia started in right field, moving over from center Saturday.
“It’s not fair to judge him,” Adam Dunn said of his new teammate. “He’s put in a situation where he’s trying to do a little too much. We know how good he is.”
Meanwhile, the Sox also completed Friday’s Alex Rios trade with the acquisition of middle infielder Leury Garcia, the player to be named later, from the Texas Rangers. He will be optioned to Triple-A Charlotte.
Leury Garcia is hitting .264 with four homers, 19 RBIs, 12 stolen bases in 47 games with Triple-A Round Rock, after making nine starts at second and two each at shortstop and third for the Rangers, for whom he batted .192.
He batted .292 at Double-A Frisco in 2012. General manager Rick Hahn classified him as a near-future consideration for the Sox with “some upside.”