Competitive Beckham pushing to new heights

Competitive Beckham pushing to new heights

ST. PETERSBURG -- Carrying a robust .336 average into Sunday's series finale against the Rays, Gordon Beckham uses one word to define how he's feeling as a baseball player.

And that word is competitive.

"That's what you want to feel," Beckham said. "You want to have an idea of what [the pitcher] is doing and an idea of what you would do well off of him and just go compete. It's the end all, be all. You got to try to compete."

Beckham has done more than compete during the 2013 season, giving the White Sox consistent production from the bottom of the order over 37 games. A fractured hamate bone in his left hand has been the only thing able to slow down Beckham, who has used all parts of the field to find offensive consistency.

This success is not surprising to the 26-year-old already playing in his fifth big league season. Beckham primed himself for this latest breakthrough at the end of the 2012 campaign.

"I feel like I turned the corner in terms of, 'Let's go play baseball.' I know what I'm trying to do," Beckham said. "I've been here long enough to understand what you go through and the highs and the lows. So I'm trying to manage those as good as I can.

"It's a lot easier to do obviously with the success, but the successes come because of the way I've handled it internally. So, you know, yeah, it's a good thing. I'm just in a good spot. Mentally, physically, everything, I just feel good. I feel like I'm not in constant scramble mode going into a game and just not knowing that I've got it."

Playing shortstop in reserve emerged as a new responsibility for one of the American League's top fielding second basemen. Beckham moved across the middle infield for two innings of Friday's loss, giving regular shortstop Alexei Ramirez his first two innings off this year.

Aside from not getting any ground balls, Beckham enjoyed the action and made a routine play on a Kelly Johnson popup to end the eighth. Beckham already moved from third to second following his 2009 rookie year and understands that the White Sox possess a top-notch shortstop in Ramirez.

If the situation dictated another position switch sometime in the future, the one-time shortstop at Georgia doesn't seem bothered by the possibility.

"You know what, I think that I could do it. I think I would be solid," Beckham said. "I'm not going to be the guy that goes out there and makes spectacular play after spectacular play. I don't know what that means, if that's good. I feel like it's a possibility. But I don't know if it's my first choice.

"Second base is my best position. But you know, no, it wouldn't bother me. I want to play, so if that's where I need to play to play, then that's where I'll play. Growing up, I always wanted to be a big league shortstop. So you think about finally getting over there. It was worth the wait I guess."

Scott Merkin is a reporter for Read his blog, Merk's Works, and follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.