8/26/2014 10:22 P.M. ET
Beckham praises Chicago, welcomes new chapter
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
CHICAGO -- Gordon Beckham spoke to the Chicago media for the first time since his Thursday trade to the Angels during a Tuesday evening conference call. The slick-fielding second baseman had praise for the White Sox and his parts of six years played in Chicago.
But immediately he could feel the change in Anaheim, where he is no longer stuck with the tag of the eighth pick overall from the 2008 First-Year Player Draft who couldn't live up to his rookie offensive success in '09.
"I really felt like I had some weight taken off my shoulders," Beckham said. "For whatever reason, I was struggling in Chicago. Fortunately for me, it's really given me a sense of clarity.
"It was always like, 'You might get traded, you might get traded.' And now I feel like there's a monkey-off-my-back kind of thing. All the baggage I had is no more. It's definitely a good feeling. It's definitely hard to leave the White Sox and everything they've meant to me and my family over the last six years. But I'm definitely excited and happy about where I'm at on a team that's contending."
Beckham hit .244 overall for the White Sox, but just .221 this season with a .598 OPS -- a far cry from his .270 average and .808 OPS as a rookie.
"Being up there so quick and not having much failure in the Minors, I had to learn kind of on the big stage how to fail and how to fail with grace," Beckham said. "It would have been easy for me to just make excuses and blame other people for my shortcomings. I'm glad I handled it like that and didn't blame anybody else.
"To come up in the big leagues and fail in front of a big league audience, it was definitely tough and it took a lot from me. But it made me a better person, and it made me a better player. Honestly, as much as some people probably wouldn't believe that, I learned how to play the game."
Rodon will start Saturday -- for Triple-A Charlotte
CHICAGO -- Carlos Rodon will be pitching this Saturday, but it will be start No. 3 for Triple-A Charlotte and not start No. 1 for the White Sox as part of a split home doubleheader against the Tigers.
General manager Rick Hahn made that point abundantly clear on Tuesday during his pregame media session.
"He's thrown like 20 innings as a pro," said Hahn of the White Sox top pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, the third pick overall and already the club's top prospect according to MLB.com. "I understand the thought behind the question, but we simply can't lose sight of the fact that he is in the infancy of his professional career.
"What he is doing right now, while impressive, is part of his development and any decision about his future, where his next start will or won't be, is based strictly on the long-term view of getting him to Chicago, ultimately to stay and contribute at the front end of our rotation for a long time. We aren't going to rush that process."
Rodon, 21, has thrown 19 2/3 between stops for Charlotte, Class A Winston-Salem and the Arizona Rookie League team. The southpaw has 31 strikeouts, 10 walks and 13 hits allowed.
Sunday's start featured Rodon fanning eight over four innings against Norfolk, and making an adjustment in between the second and third inning to help him climb as the afternoon progressed. As far as a September callup for Rodon, which remains a distinct possibility, all Hahn would commit to Tuesday was Rodon making his next start and then having "a conversation after that."
"This is a talented, talented young man," said Hahn of Rodon. "He's already made three stops with our affiliates within a month of being a pro. Although he is having success, he has moved very quickly. That makes his success even more impressive. It has been a very fine year for him."
"Good stuff, competes his butt off," said White Sox center fielder Adam Eaton, who was on an injury rehab assignment for Rodon's Sunday start. "As a college junior being signed, he's a lot more knowledgeable about the game than I was at that time. Fans should be very excited about the future."
White Sox AFL players officially assigned
CHICAGO -- The White Sox will be represented by seven players as part of the Glendale Desert Dogs during the 2014 Arizona Fall League season. Those players are infielder Tim Anderson (No. 2 White Sox prospect per MLB.com), infielder Rangel Ravelo, catcher Kevan Smith, left-handed pitchers Scott Snodgress and Jefferson Olacio and right-handed pitchers Frank Montas and Chris Bassitt.
Anderson and Montas have battled through injuries this season, with Montas having trouble with both knees and Anderson on an 8-for-17 run with Double-A Birmingham after dealing with a fractured right wrist.
"They both missed time, so it's good to get them additional reps, especially Montas, who had two setbacks, one with each knee but is now knock-on-wood healthy," said White Sox general manager Rick Hahn of Anderson and Montas. "But it's also about challenging them with a little bit of a higher level.
"Obviously the level of play in the Fall League over the years has been really prospect-laden and we feel that both those guys are ready for it from a performance standpoint. They also happen to have missed a little developmental time, so they're a perfect fit for that."
U.S. Cellular part of Jackie Robinson West parade
CHICAGO -- U.S. Cellular Field stands as one of six gathering points for fans during Wednesday's championship parade for the Jackie Robinson West Little League team, beginning at 9 a.m. CT at Jackie Robinson Park and making its way to Millennium Park for a rally at approximately 11 a.m.
Six of the JRW players also are part of the White Sox Amateur City Elite traveling baseball program: Marquis Jackson, Ed Howard, Cameron Bufford, Brandon Green, Joshua Houston, and Trey Hondras.
"Our ACE program continues to generate great stories and be a rousing success," White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said. "This is another example of the White Sox outreach having a positive outcome.
"If this exposure leads to more kids getting drafted by other organizations, fantastic. More importantly, if it leads to more kids having educational opportunities, which was the original goal of the program, then even better. How quickly the program has grown in the last few years and how much success we have had is giving everyone great reason for pride and it sure looks like the future is even brighter."
Hahn praised JRW for bringing Chicago together to root for a common goal in baseball, "which doesn't happen around here too often," as well as the kids succeeding on the highest possible level. That greatness resulted in a celebration at Midway Airport upon their return Monday, leading up to Wednesday's parade.
"It is amazing. Yeah, especially this city," White Sox manage Robin Ventura said of the parade. "You could see it in some small towns somewhere, but to be able to do it here, it's hard to imagine that at that age to be able to do that. They did a great job.
"You're playing with your best friends that you grew up with. That's the special part of it. To be able to win the U.S. Championship is special as well."
Third to first
• Charlotte catcher Josh Phegley and first baseman Andy Wilkins have been named to the International League postseason All-Star Team, as selected by managers, coaches, media and club representatives.
Phegley ranks among the IL leaders in home runs (3rd, 23), RBIs (3rd, 74), slugging percentage (3rd, .546), total bases (3rd, 220), OPS (4th, .886) and runs scored (6th, 69). Wilkins, the IL Player of the Month for July, leads the league in home runs (29), RBIs (84), extra-base hits (66) and total bases (266). He ranks second in doubles (36) and slugging percentage (.554) and is third in OPS (.891).
• Alexei Ramirez needed three home runs to reach 100 for his Major League career after swatting a two-run shot in the fifth inning Tuesday night.
• Minor League players who will be called up when rosters expand in September have not been told yet by the White Sox, so Hahn did not share their names on Tuesday. Both Charlotte and Birmingham finish their season on Sept. 1, so those players will join the White Sox in Minnesota on Sept. 2 following a team off-day.
• Hahn has a clear goal going into the upcoming offseason: Supplement some of the outstanding moves from the last year or 18 months to make this team a contender in 2015.
"That's absolutely our intent," Hahn said. "We obviously can't guarantee we're going to be able to make 'X' number of moves and we're going to be able to hit on as high as percentage of our targets as we did last year, but it's certainly our goal to address ideally all of what we feel are our needs, before they shift, as quickly as possible.
"It has never been about, 'Hey, we got two things done, so we're good.' The fact of the matter is we didn't get everything done last offseason, and we look forward to the chance coming up in the coming weeks, where we're able to get a little more aggressive in pursuing some answers out there."