Beckham to play second base for Sox in '10
Young star willing to do whatever he can to help the club
CHICAGO -- A funny thing happened to Gordon Beckham on the way to making the position of third base on the White Sox his own.
Well, maybe not so much funny, as Beckham would describe it, as much as another challenge facing the 23-year-old phenom, as he moves over to second base for the 2010 season. That change was facilitated by the White Sox acquisition of Mark Teahen from the Royals on Friday, with starting second baseman Chris Getz and Josh Fields moving on to Kansas City.
Teahen will take over at third base, where Beckham played 102 games for the White Sox in 2009. And how did Beckham react to the change when he heard the news from general manager Ken Williams and bench coach Joey Cora? He answered with a little humor.
"I can't seem to find the position I've played my whole career," Beckham told MLB.com with a bit of a laugh, being that he is a natural shortstop who has circled that defensive spot but has never landed on it at the big league level.
"When the offseason started, I was kind of locked into thinking I would play third," Beckham said. "But I want to do whatever helps this team. If they want to move me to second, then that is something I'm going to do."
Beckham actually played second base during the 2008 Arizona Fall League and during his 38-game stint for Double-A Birmingham to begin this past season. He nearly won the starting job with an impressive Spring Training effort last March, a job Getz eventually earned.
After playing just seven games at third base for Triple-A Charlotte, Beckham was called up to the Majors on June 4 and replaced Fields as the White Sox starter at the hot corner. It didn't take long for Beckham to become a strong defensive presence at this new spot, which now has become his old spot.
"I don't really care what spot I have, as long as I know what I'm playing," Beckham said. "It seems like the weight was off me coming into the offseason knowing I had a full year at third base under my belt. So, now I kind of have to re-do learning how to play a new position.
"I've played a lot more second than third. I know how to play it and how to do it. I guess part of me was thinking at least I wouldn't I have to figure out something new because I felt comfortable at third.
"Ultimately, it's not my decision," Beckham said. "The way I look at it, I do know it better than third, so I just have to figure out the intricacies and learn the position to make plays and be a productive defender. It will take my mind off of hitting, which is a good thing. The less I think about hitting, the better I do."
Before signing off on the deal, Williams called Beckham to check with him on the defensive move. Beckham referred to that call as "a big compliment" and really appreciated Williams' gesture.
Under the watchful guidance of Cora, Beckham will begin work at second base at some point during this offseason. He's prepared for the adjustment, made a bit tougher by the departure of Getz and Fields.
"Chris and Josh were my two closest friends on the team, so it's really not easy. To see both of them go, it's going to be tough," Beckham said. "It's hard for me because it's another new position and hard for me because I'm playing a position that was held by one of my closest friends on the team.
"I'm not sure the politics involved in it, and it's not for me to say anything about it. I know [manager] Ozzie [Guillen] liked Chris and I agreed. He can play second and do a bunch of great things. He can do things on the field a lot can't. It's going to be tough to replace him."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.