From the time the White Sox drafted Gordon Beckham with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2008 draft, he projected out as a possible power hitter who was more likely to land in the No. 2 hole.
Guess who is finally batting second for the Sox?
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Beckham was back in the key lineup spot for the second straight game Monday night against the Cubs, and look for him to stay there for an extended stretch.
"The way he's swinging it, you put him in there and let him go," said White Sox manager Robin Ventura. "He's been having good at-bats and a good approach and it's a good spot for him."
Batting averages of .234 last season, .230 the year before and .252 in 2010 have kept Beckham bottled up at the bottom of the order, but he's been hitting well all season and not even missing nearly two months with a fractured left hamate bone has slowed him down.
Beckham was batting a sizzling .417 (20-for-48) over his last 13 games and .341 overall heading into Monday.
Alexei Ramirez replaced the slumping Jeff Keppinger and took over as the White Sox' No. 2 hitter in mid-May. Ramirez has hit for a respectable average, but he doesn't walk or bunt well enough to fit the profile of a good No. 2 hitter.
Ramirez batted seventh Monday, and he'll try to improve his production after delivering just 1 homer and 17 RBI in 85 games.
"Alexei can go down there (for) RBI stuff," Ventura said. "That's probably something that's been missing for him. Being in that No. 2 spot doesn't give him many RBI opportunities."
On the mend:
Relief pitcher Jesse Crain said his ailing right shoulder is starting to feel better, and he should be able to come off the disabled list when the all-star break ends July 19.
"Thursday, Friday and Saturday, it was a little sore," Crain said. "It ached a little bit and hopefully that was the process of healing. The last day or two it has felt real good. I don't have that pain in there anymore. I'm ready for that next step and start strengthening it and throwing again."
If Crain comes back healthy and strong, don't be surprised if he is quickly traded. With a 0.74 ERA, he figures to attract heavy interest.
"Hopefully, I stay here and we get it turned around real quick," Crain said. "But we all know how the game works, and moves are made. It's something that crosses my mind every now and then, but I try not to think about it."
The White Sox headed to Detroit after Monday's makeup game against the Cubs, and they'll play the Tigers for the first time Tuesday night.
Over the final 76 games of the season, the Sox and Detroit play 19 times.
"It's odd you haven't seen them already," manager Robin Ventura said. "You've got a lot of games in the second half, but it's weird when you don't see anybody in your division until the all-start break. But I didn't make the schedule; you just go with it."