CHICAGO | The “3” as the first number in Gordon Beckham’s batting average, as opposed to the typical “2” followed by a pair of equally low numbers to fill it out, isn’t causing the White Sox second baseman to jump for joy.
After years of everyone else psychoanalyzing Beckham for not repeating and enhancing the promise of his rookie season in 2009, the man under the microscope has tuned it all out once and for all. After starting at .270, then dipping to .252, .230 and .234, Beckham is making himself a good hitter, bit by bit, step by step.
“I think I made an adjustment (to use) more of my legs, and in the off-season continued that thought and worked on that,” the always-forthright Beckham said. “In spring training, I even made another adjustment in the thought process in terms of the actual swing. All that put together has equaled what you see now.
“It’s been good thus far.”
Sandwiched around hamate bone surgery that robbed him of six weeks of playing time, Beckham is hitting .309 over his first 94 at-bats with a .340 on-base percentage.
Although Beckham’s power has been stunted by residual post-surgery soreness, he’s showing the kind of hitting-to-all-fields consistency always projected, but rarely displayed.
“It’s easier (to hit to all fields) because I have a better approach this year,” Beckham said. “I finally figured out what makes me tick. Whether I’m hitting the ball to left-center or right is unimportant to me. What’s important is I got up there and have a good at-bat, which helps our team, gets the pitch count up.”
While Sox manager Robin Ventura tries to find enough .300 on-base percentage producers to fill out a lineup, he scarcely has to worry about Beckham.
“It’s going to get better,” Ventura said. “There’s still some soreness. This is more of what he was going to do. I think you’ll see more power later on when he fully gets healthy. For right now, he does a good job going in there and just giving us the kind of an at-bat you want to see.”
For all too long, Beckham gave the team anything but that quality plate appearance.
“There were some times I didn’t know if it would (get better),” he said.
“My faith is a big part of that. My fiancée (Brittany Fletcher) is a big part of it. A lot of times I didn’t have answers. It’s nice to have a plan and an approach that works, and just go with that.”
Even more than raw numbers is the Beckham that takes responsibility like the strong safety he once was. Case in point was the error Tuesday night when Beckham charged across the mound and disrupted any chance of Conor Gillaspie catching the popup. The miscue cost Chris Sale a well-earned victory.
“I ran in there and screwed it up,” Beckham said. “Stupid play for me. My heart was in the right spot, but my mind obviously wasn’t. It’s a stupid play and I’m an idiot.”
Only briefly, and hardly ever at the plate anymore.
This column solely represents the writer’s opinion. Reach him at DGemsNet@aol.com.