05/11/2013 1:18 AM ET
Beckham swings off tee, eager for rehab assignment
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- After taking 100 swings off a tee before Friday's series opener with the Angels at U.S. Cellular Field, Gordon Beckham made a seemingly bold prediction for his return to the Majors.
"Let's just say a couple of weeks from today," Beckham said. "That's the goal."
The White Sox second baseman had surgery on April 16 to remove a fractured hamate bone in his left hand, sustained while taking a swing against Washington Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez. The standard recovery time of six weeks for such an injury would have had Beckham return in early June, but after Friday's swings and his resuming defensive work this past Tuesday, Beckham is hoping for a rehab assignment within the next 7-10 days.
"It could be bumped up. It could be moved back as of now," Beckham said.
"I was pretty encouraged by the fact I saw the ball and the way the ball was coming off the bat," said Beckham of his Friday swings. "That's important, and a lot of balls had good trajectory, too. So there's a lot to like about the first day. Got to build up a little bit, but for the first day, pretty encouraging."
Viciedo returns to White Sox after DL stint
CHICAGO -- Left fielder Dayan Viciedo returned from his injury rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte following a 3-for-15 showing in four games to test a strained left oblique that put him on the disabled list retroactive to April 19. Viciedo hit seventh in Robin Ventura's lineup Friday and declared himself 100 percent healthy.
"I'm going little by little," said Viciedo through translator and White Sox coach Lino Diaz. "I'm not going to put too much pressure on myself. This is a team thing and I'm just going to go day by day and try to do what I know how to do. So, there's no pressure."
Outfielder Jordan Danks was optioned back to Charlotte to make room on the roster for Viciedo
Viciedo's forceful swing caused the strain during an April 18 contest in Toronto. But a smiling Viciedo said that swing won't change because of the injury and he actually tested his aggressive approach a few times at Charlotte.
Getting Viciedo back, and with John Danks and Gordon Beckham soon to follow, means general manager Rick Hahn will have a chance to see his full roster, minus Gavin Floyd, in action by early June.
"Injuries are a factor," Hahn said. "It's something that everyone has to deal with but at the same time, it's tough to evaluate truly where you sit if you don't have the core group playing together on a regular basis. But there's other factors besides health going into the decision about where things go from here and that's how the team as a whole is performing based on the 25 guys who are out there on a given night."
"You come into Spring Training with a plan of these are the guys that are going to play and this is the lineup," White Sox captain Paul Konerko said. "So, you want to try to see that as much as you can. It's kind of been not that all year. Not saying that's a reason. We could have done better with some of the stuff we haven't done well. It shouldn't matter if you have guys from A ball, we should be better at it. But it is nice to see the guys who earned the starting spot be back in there."
Viciedo went 1-for-3 with a two-run double and a walk in Friday's 7-5 loss. His sixth-inning free pass was his first of the season.
Injuries open up opportunities in rotation
CHICAGO -- The overriding feeling coming from general manager Rick Hahn and the White Sox organization concerning Gavin Floyd's season-ending surgery on Tuesday was a sense of sadness for a good kid temporarily having his livelihood interrupted.
"You'd hate to see anybody lose time to injury, much less go through what is a catastrophic injury and surgery," said Hahn of Floyd, who had successful surgery to repair his ulnar collateral ligament and flexor muscle and will be out of action from 14-19 months, after sustaining the injury in a start on April 27. "The good thing is that what he had done is common.
"He has a treatment path sort of laid out ahead of him with milestones he can meet in his recovery to know he's progressing and it has a fairly high success rate. You've seen guys come back not only as good but some arguably better after they've had a repair phase."
Floyd, 30, certainly was steady if not always spectacular during his seven years with the White Sox. Once he became a full-time starter, the right-hander made at least 29 starts, won at least 10 games and threw at least 168 innings from 2008-12. His best run came in 2008, when Floyd produced a 17-8 record with a 3.84 ERA over a career-high 33 starts.
Floyd's absence, coupled with John Danks' continued strengthening of his surgically repaired left shoulder, has given young starters such as Dylan Axelrod and Hector Santiago a chance to prove their rotation mettle.
"It does create opportunities for guys and we've seen Hector and Dylan so far already take advantage to fill in the rotation," Hahn said. "We did feel going into the season starting pitching was going to be one of our strengths and thus far it's been tested and it has proven to be one of our strengths.
"Again, it's unfortunate for Gavin. But we feel we have the reinforcements in house to not miss a beat."
Hahn also feels that Floyd's makeup will help him overcome the injury and eventually get back to the Majors.
"We're certainly rooting for him to make the full, quick, speedy recovery, but it takes time," Hahn said. "The good thing about Gavin is anyone who has been around him for the last couple of years knows he is an extraordinarily diligent worker and if anyone is going to put in the time and commitment needed to full recovery, it's Gavin.
"This is a setback and a negative thing. But if there's someone with the work ethic, commitment and attitude, it's a guy like Gavin. Everything is pointing in his favor. It's just going to take a little while."
Hahn confident past history will predict future
CHICAGO -- As a long-time fan of the Chicago Bears, Rick Hahn would get upset when the Monsters of the Midway started a season 1-2.
Then he would realize those three games were just a small segment of the 14-game or 16-game ledger, and it was too early to overreact. It's the same sort of pragmatic approach the White Sox general manager is following in regard to his team's 14-18 record and last-place standing in the American League Central entering Friday's series opener with the Angels at U.S. Cellular Field.
"That's essentially where we are in the baseball season, less than 20 percent of the way into the schedule," said Hahn of the 33 games in a 162-game schedule. "We have been disappointed with the way things have started from an offensive standpoint, and even defensively has been a little erratic and not up to the standard we set last year.
"With that being said, we have a fair amount of guys with some substantial track records behind them which gives you reason to believe there will be some improvement back toward those career norms. We are talking about a team that last year was fourth in runs scored and there's no reason to believe this permutation of that team with some improvements in some areas and a lot of the same personnel in others is going to end up at the bottom of the league in runs scored.
"We expect there to be a correction fairly soon," Hahn said. "But thus far it has been disappointing and it's time to get going."
Hahn isn't one for making massive personnel moves this early in the season, choosing instead to let his players show their "true performance levels over an extended period of time." But that wait won't be indefinite or carry through the whole summer with hopes that things get better.
The White Sox have just two opponents with a current record over .500 in their 20 games to finish May. The team is getting healthy, but the biggest concerns are getting a 13th-ranked defense in the AL and an offense ranking 15th in five separate categories considerably stronger.
"There are subsets you can cut up that look worse than others but across the board, the offense is not up to the level that we're expecting nor the level of the past performance nor the level we expect we're going to get going forward," Hahn said. "[Clutch hitting] is one symptom of something that's not going well and we expect to improve."
"We know it's a good division and we know there are teams out there playing well and will play well," White Sox captain Paul Konerko said. "You can't expect teams to come back to poor level of play. Teams will play well. There seems to be in every division a couple of teams that get going and you try to be one of them."
Third to first
• Alejandro De Aza's seven leadoff homers rank second in the American League since 2012. Texas' Ian Kinsler sits No. 1 with eight. De Aza, who has connected for leadoff homers in two straight games, ranks third in franchise history with those seven leadoff blasts. Ray Durham (20) and Tim Raines (nine) are atop the club's all-time list.
• Adam Dunn scored a run in Friday night's 7-5 loss to reach 1,000 for his career.
• The White Sox celebrated Cinco Past Cinco de Mayo on Friday, with a stirring national anthem performed by Mariachi Monumental de Mexico.