White Sox will be cautious with Beckham injury

Updated 3/15/2014 11:34 PM
  • White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham throws out a runner at first Friday, when he strained his left oblique on a swing after the game.

    White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham throws out a runner at first Friday, when he strained his left oblique on a swing after the game. Associated Press

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It has been an interesting couple of days for Gordon Beckham.

On Friday, his name came up in a trade rumor rather humorously deemed "not impossible" by the New York Post. It was Beckham to the Yankees for catcher Francisco Cervelli.

A day later, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn was laughing about the proposed deal, so that should tell you something. On the other hand, Hahn didn't think Beckham's strained left oblique was at all funny.

Before Saturday night's Cactus League game against the Dodgers, the Sox announced Beckham is going to be shut down for a week after injuring the oblique Friday.

"I was taking a couple of light hacks in the cage after the game yesterday, and one swing, I felt it," Beckham said. "It was pretty obvious. I could tell once I took the swing, something was wrong."

Beckham was hit hard with injuries last season, missing most of the first two months with a fractured left hand and most of the final two months with a strained right quad.

Now, the 27-year-old second baseman is dealing with an oblique, which can be tough to heal. Relief pitcher Matt Lindstrom strained his left oblique in late February and has yet to appear in the Cactus League.

"That's why we're taking seven days off," Beckham said. "Matt Lindstrom just had something very similar and from the looks of it it's the exact same spot.

"Talking to him and telling him what my plan was, he felt confident. He's like, 'You should be fine.' Everybody's different, but I usually respond pretty well to this kind of stuff, so I think if we're giving it seven days off, I really feel like it will be gone."

Beckham is confident he will be ready for the March 31 season opener, but it's too early to tell.

"We will re-evaluate in a week and see where we are at and come up with a time frame then," Hahn said. "It's obviously not the kind of injury you want to linger or force back too quickly. We are going to be cautious. We are in a position right now where we do have a little bit of depth."

While they are thin around the outfield, shortstop, third base and catcher, the White Sox are in good shape at second base. That's the main reason Beckham often is mentioned in trade rumors.

"This provides an opportunity for Marcus (Semien) and Leury (Garcia) to play a little more regularly and even see a little bit more of Micah Johnson, despite the fact that he's likely starting in the minors," Hahn said.

Johnson stole 84 bases and combined to bat .312 with 24 doubles, 15 triples, 7 home runs, 58 RBI and 106 runs scored in just 131 minor-league games last year. But the 25-year-old infielder spent most of his time at the Class A level with Kannapolis and Winston-Salem.

On the offensive side, Johnson is having a great camp, batting .500 (7-for-14) with 3 RBI and 2 stolen bases. Defensively, he still is a work in progress after making 29 errors last season.

"We're seeing him for the first time up here in big-league camp regularly," manager Robin Ventura said. "It's a pretty big jump to go where he was last year and think he would fill into that spot.

"He's continuing to improve, and he's getting better as you see him up here. I think it's good for him to get introduced to this and get the exposure to it. But making the team right now, it's probably a longshot."

Ventura said Semien and Garcia are going to get most of the playing time at second base until Beckham returns.

"You can fill that in and we have options, but I'd rather have the first option be Gordon," Ventura said. "We have to make sure we get him healthy and go from there."


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