GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The key for Gordon Beckham to return to his 2009 Rookie of the Year-caliber form in 2011 might not center on the second baseman's ability to hit the offspeed pitch or any on-field machinations.
It might just come from Beckham's ability to say "no" more often.
"Sometimes they get in a situation where they are spread too thin," said White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski, when asked about Beckham's sophomore slump. "It's not just his fault. It's the organization, the people outside, your mom, your dad and everyone.
"I went through it. Everyone has gone through it. You have that year and people are like, 'You can do this and do that' and people are like, 'We need you to do this appearance and do this interview,' and you want to say yes to everybody.
"But I think last year, the organization and himself and everyone said we need you to do so much," Pierzynski said. "That's great because he's a great young player and has a great future. At the same time, you have to be able to say no and that's the hardest thing you learn sometimes."
With Beckham's locker located next to Pierzynski's during Spring Training, the White Sox catcher has taken it upon himself to teach Beckham in the ways of being "meaner." Beckham might not need the help, having told MLB.com back in early February that his 2011 focus falls solely on baseball.
"In my opinion, I have something to prove," said Beckham, who was in camp Wednesday and working six days before White Sox position players were scheduled to report. "I've worked hard. Last year, maybe I was a little too comfortable, you know? Let's just put it that way."
"We talked a lot this winter, and I like the way he's talking and I like the way he's acting," Pierzynski said. "He's got a different mindset this year. That's good. It's what he needs and what we need as a team. I look forward to him having a great year and as long as you guys don't anoint him the second coming of Babe Ruth, we'll be all right."