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updated: 5/7/2014 1:07 AM

Beckham goes boom for White Sox

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  • Gordon Beckham launches a home run off Cubs relief pitcher Neil Ramirez in the eighth inning Tuesday at Wrigley Field to finish off his 4-for-4 night.

      Gordon Beckham launches a home run off Cubs relief pitcher Neil Ramirez in the eighth inning Tuesday at Wrigley Field to finish off his 4-for-4 night.
    Associated Press

 
 

Early last season, it was a fractured left hand. Late in the season, it was a sore right quad.

Early this season, it was a strained left oblique.

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The injuries have been coming fast and furious for Gordon Beckham, and so has the development of talented young second basemen Marcus Semien and Micah Johnson, who is batting a cool .344 at Class AA Birmingham.

Not only is it time for Beckham to stay healthy for an extended stretch, it's time for the No. 8 overall pick in the 2008 draft to produce.

The White Sox are hoping Beckham can build off Tuesday night's showing against the Cubs.

With the chilly winds blowing in for the second straight night a Wrigley Field, a clear advantage for the pitchers, Beckham matched his career high with 4 hits and also homered for the first time this season to spark the Sox' 5-1 victory over the Cubs.

Beckham's big night (4-for-5) raised his batting average from .167 to .234. "Great night," he said. "It definitely comes at a good time."

In spring training, Beckham was making good progress while working with new Sox hitting coach Todd Steverson. His swing was shorter and quicker and the power was steadily coming back.

But in mid-March, the 27-year-old infielder was taking some extra swings in the cage after playing in a Cactus League game. There went the oblique, and Beckham didn't return to the lineup until April 24.

Now, he's working to get back to where he was before the latest health issue.

"The mechanics are OK, a little better," Beckham said. "They're better than they were last night. I'm in a better spot."

Beckham spent some extra time with Steverson on Tuesday before the Sox swept the two-game set at Wrigley.

"I got a better feel today," he said. "It was bound to happen. I wasn't panicked. I've kind of been here before and I just had a good game."

With so many injuries up and down the order, a healthy, productive Beckham would give the White Sox a huge lift.

"It was great," manager Robin Ventura said after Beckham's home run in the eighth inning snapped a 1-1 tie. "He's been trying to find that swing, and tonight was it. He made a couple adjustments in B.P. Felt good. I mean, it looked good.

"He hit the ball all over the place and then that was a big home run for us tonight, and we get some runs late. With him you always want to get that going. He's been trying to find that since he came off the DL. It's nice to see that out of him."

Having missed so much time the past two seasons and now being challenged by players such as Semien and Johnson is not something Beckham is taking likely.

But if he's going to be pushed, Beckham plans on pushing back.

"If anything, it's probably a good thing," he said. "I mean, honestly, I am glad that the guys who filled in for me did well. We want the team to win. I don't want people to do bad and come back into a situation where we're struggling. That is definitely not what we want.

"I guess Marcus did most of the work there. He had a good start. That's great. But I am going to go out and play my game and let that fall into place."

sgregor@dailyherald.com

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