8/3/2014 8:15 P.M. ET
Beckham's defense proving vital to White Sox
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- General manager Rick Hahn has a good problem at second base.
Micah Johnson, Carlos Sanchez and Marcus Semien, rising prospects in the White Sox system, all sit behind incumbent Gordon Beckham, who ranks as one of the more solid defensive players at his position in the American League. This depth seems to indicate that Beckham, entering his last year of arbitration in 2015, will become a prime trade candidate in August or during the offseason. But Hahn focused on said depth more than any sort of turnover at the position.
"There certainly is the assumption that that depth means there's going to be promotions to Chicago and change over here. It's not always the case," Hahn told MLB.com. "Premium middle-of-the-diamond guys have value to other organizations, too, which conceivably could be used to address our needs.
"In terms of Gordon, we view him as one of the best defensive second basemen in the AL. He's had a tough offensive stretch here, but for the first six or eight weeks of the season, he looked as if he had regained the form seen earlier in his career, and we all know it's in there. It's a matter of him getting back to that peak level of performance on both sides of the ball."
Beckham hit .306 in May and had seven homers and 22 RBIs through June, after missing time at the season's outset due to a strained left oblique. But his July was extremely rough, as he had just 13 hits in 94 at-bats. He entered Sunday with 26 hits in his last 166 at-bats over the past 42 games, although he did knock out two hits in Saturday's loss.
To Beckham's credit, his admitted offensive struggles have not affected his play in the field. Beckham forms one of the game's top double-play tandems with shortstop Alexei Ramirez, a key to the White Sox and their plethora of ground-ball pitchers. Manager Robin Ventura said his team is able to turn some of their double plays because of Beckham's strong arm, which profiles more as that of a third baseman playing second.
"He understands that's a big part of his game," said Ventura of Beckham's defense. "For as much as people want to focus on the offensive stuff, there's a lot of defensive things that he does, and nobody turns it and gets a lot of the double plays just because his arm is so strong. He's very good at the pivot and stays in there.
"He'll take a beating at second base. It's a very important aspect of what we have to work with. We've got a lot of guys that are ground-ball pitchers, and you are going to need that to stay in games."
Avisail exits rehab game after getting plunked
CHICAGO -- Avisail Garcia left in the third inning of his injury rehabilitation contest for Triple-A Charlotte on Sunday after being hit by a pitch from Gwinnett's Kanekoa Texeira.
Garcia, who suffered a bruised left triceps and is listed as day to day, showed his frustration after being struck as seen on video from the game.
Garcia has five singles in his first 10 at-bats for the Knights, as he tries to make a comeback from a torn labrum and avulsion fracture in his left shoulder that took place while diving for a ball in Colorado on April 9. There was no word Sunday as to how or if the hit by pitch would affect his rehab assignment.
Matt Lindstrom made his second injury rehab appearance Sunday for Charlotte, working the eighth inning in relief of Chris Beck. He allowed two runs on four hits, striking out one and throwing 15 of his 20 pitches for strikes.
Lindstrom is scheduled to throw every other day until he returns to the White Sox, which could be on this next road trip. He has been out since May 19 with damage done to a tendon sheath on his left ankle.
Petricka enjoys thrill of ninth-inning role
CHICAGO -- The way Jake Petricka describes closing out ballgames is "more exciting, more often," with fans always revved up when the right-hander is called upon to protect a lead in the ninth. That excitement was there when he worked the seventh or eighth, but maybe not quite as frequently or consistently.
"Otherwise, it's still the same game," Petricka said. "Just attack with whatever is working that day. If something doesn't seem to be working, then don't throw it unless you have a pitch that maybe you can see if it is going to come back. Otherwise, here it is between me and the hitter: who is going to win this battle?"
When Petricka was starting during the 2011-12 seasons as part of the White Sox Minor League system, he never really thought about become the big league closer. He did think about finishing games that he started, which is the same sort of thinking that plays out now.
Matt Lindstrom and Zach Putnam -- both of whom have seen time at closer this year -- will be returning soon from the disabled list, meaning Petricka could share time in the ninth inning or move to a setup role. It's a job he would like to keep, either in the present or future.
"That will be Robin's decision, and I just want to keep proving I can handle it," Petricka said of closing. "If it's not this year, then for next year. As much as it's always the here and now, you are playing for next year too."
Prospect Mitchell returns to Triple-A Charlotte
CHICAGO -- Jared Mitchell was promoted back to Triple-A Charlotte from Double-A Birmingham after hitting .299 with 10 homers and 20 RBIs over 157 at-bats with the Barons.
The left-handed-hitting outfielder started the year with the Knights and hit .199 with 78 strikeouts over 156 at-bats before being moved down to Birmingham. But the White Sox higher-ups have hoped that once things click for the 25-year-old, baseball-wise, his immense natural talent will help him make quick and significant jumps.
The team's top pick in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, Mitchell is playing in his fifth year with the organization.
Third to first
• Following Sunday's 16-3 loss to the Twins, the White Sox optioned right-hander Taylor Thompson to Charlotte. Thompson pitched a scoreless seventh inning before running into trouble to begin the eighth and getting charged with three runs.
• Carlos Rodon, the White Sox top pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft and third selection overall, hurled two scoreless innings for Class A Winston-Salem on Sunday in his second appearance with the Dash. Rodon struck out two, walked one and gave up one hit.
• Outfielder Blake Tekotte was traded from the White Sox to Arizona for cash considerations. Tekotte, 27, hit .251 with 11 homers and 35 RBIs this season for Charlotte, and .226 over 31 at-bats with the White Sox in 2013.
• Alexei Ramirez needs five home runs to reach 100 for his career.
• The White Sox rank second since 2003 in terms of quality starts made, trailing only the New York Mets.
• Paul Konerko received a rare start this season against a right-handed pitcher, playing first base with Jose Abreu moving to designated hitter Sunday.