Beckham's star shining brighter
Top prospect's performance in camp turning heads
PHOENIX -- Looking for a way to neatly sum up the rising Spring Training star that has become the White Sox Gordon Beckham?
"This kid is unreal," the unnamed fan said.
Pretty much everyone associated with the White Sox would agree. Beckham had the chance to play second base and hit leadoff on Sunday, with Jayson Nix nursing a sore right quad, Brent Lillibridge sidelined by the flu and Chris Getz getting a day off. Beckham will be back at second during a Monday morning "B" game against the Dodgers.
Before fans start reading too much into Beckham's multiple starts at the leadoff spot, manager Ozzie Guillen said the main goal is getting five at-bats per game for Beckham by putting him there. Forget about the leadoff possibility, though. Beckham has made enough of an impact that Guillen has begun to envision the rookie in the big league picture, a picture he wasn't near when Spring Training began.
It's also a picture that has yet to be fully assembled.
"He's had a great Spring Training and he's making it tougher on us to make that decision," said Guillen of Beckham. "He continues to impress everybody. It seems like he belongs in the big leagues.
"Right now, we have  games left. If he continues to do that, then we have to think about what we're going to do. I'm really, really impressed with him, but in the meanwhile, I think we have more talent behind him that can help us, too."
Hitting coach Greg Walker described Beckham on Sunday morning as a kid he hasn't had to do much with, swing-wise. Beckham is a legitimate No. 1 pick and right where he should be, according to Walker.
That locale, in Beckham's mind, had him holding out very little hope of breaking camp with the White Sox as recently as Friday. On Sunday, Beckham certainly wasn't about to declare himself as the team's starting second baseman but transferred some of that on-the-field confidence to his conversation with the media.
"Still pretty far out of the realm of reality, I guess," said Beckham, who scored two runs and drove in one. "But you know, I said it [Friday], I'm going to prepare the same way, no matter what. I feel like I've made good strides in the right direction. And if I said I didn't want to make the team, then I would be crazy. I'm trying my hardest and we will see what happens."
In Guillen's mind, the best test of Beckham's present success is when he's getting the hits in a game. Beckham's first double came off of Clayton Kershaw, a talented southpaw and sure bet to be part of the Dodgers rotation.
"Now, as he gets more at-bats, he's swinging the bat well and he's swinging against the good ones," Guillen said. "You look at the clock and it says 2:30. He hits the ball when it's 1:05, 1:15, too.
"To me, that counts. You look at who he's facing and it seems like he's not having a problem against anyone. I hope he makes my job pretty tough at the end of Spring Training."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.