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posted: 7/27/2012 5:30 AM

Beckham and Dempster both hard to figure out

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  • Gordon Beckham has been struggling at the plate for the White Sox, going just 4 for 33 over the last 10 games. Here he breaks his bat on a checked swing against the Tigers last week.

      Gordon Beckham has been struggling at the plate for the White Sox, going just 4 for 33 over the last 10 games. Here he breaks his bat on a checked swing against the Tigers last week.
    Associated Press

By Mike North
The Rebel Insider

Gordon Beckham seems like a guy that cares very much about his craft.

Never hear too much about him off the field, and the White Sox fans, players, and organization all seem to like him.

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On the surface, it's all good for the young second baseman with the matinee idol looks, until you look at his performance on the field.

With the last 10 games in the bank -- four in Boston, three in Detroit, and the three at home in Chicago against the Twins -- Beckham hit a paltry .121, going 4 for 33 with 2 runs scored and not an RBI insight.

Now the kid can field his position, and he has no fear with the double-play ball when it comes to oncoming runners. He handles his middle infield duties about as good as anybody.

It's at the dish where his star crashes.

I'm sure people in the front office, including general manager Kenny Williams, are underwhelmed by Beckham when he steps into the batters box. He is not the hitter or spark plug the White Sox thought they were getting when he was drafted out of the University of Georgia.

He is still very young, and the positive is that he has time to get better. But there's also time to be what he just might be: ordinary!

A career average of .245, an on-base percentage of .311 and a slugging percentage of .355 combine to make him a convenient out for the competition.

My advice, as an observer: choke up on the bat, quit swinging like you're a 25-home run guy, and go to all fields. If he does that, and shortens his swing, you might be looking at a guy who will hit .280 and bat in the second hole.

But right now he is batting where he should -- last!

And White Sox fans also know right now he's not even the best second baseman in town -- that falls to Darwin Barney of the Cubs.

To the GM, the manager and the fan base, I do know that wasn't supposed to be the plan.

Right now Beckham is between a rock and a hard place. Is he ordinary or a bust? He's not a bust, but he is traveling on that road.

What's up with Dempster?

Is Ryan Dempster not who we all thought?

I wrote a recent column about Dempster praising him and his leadership. And low and behold, between trade talks and dugout frustration he has been anything but that.

Cubs manager Dale Sveum implied behind the scenes that Dempster can be quite vocal, and not always the same guy who fans perceived him to be. Not a flattering statement for the manager to make.

I still love Ryan as a player, but it's interesting how things come out when the end is near.

• Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at For more, visit

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