Guillen defends struggling Beckham

Guillen defends struggling Beckham

ARLINGTON -- The starting nod for Omar Vizquel in Wednesday's lineup against Texas originally was supposed to be in place of shortstop Alexei Ramirez.

But when White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen thought about Gordon Beckham's ongoing struggles after Tuesday's 4-2 loss to the Rangers, he decided to give his second baseman the night off instead. Guillen stressed this absence would cover just one game for Beckham, hitting .205 with one home run and three RBIs entering Wednesday.

Guillen also explained, in almost defiant tones, how before Beckham is anointed "the man of this ballclub," coming on the heels of winning two American League Rookie of the Year awards in 2009, remember his promising career is just beginning.

"This kid has a long way to go," Guillen said. "Couple of years ago he was playing college, and I think we did something that I don't think we should have been doing, which is put this kid like he's the savior of the White Sox for the next 30 years. It's not easy to handle that, and I hope that if he's struggling right now and it doesn't carry on to him to be the man.

"He's not the man, and he never will be the man. As long as I manage this ballclub, nobody is the man. There are 25 men out there, not just one, because it will take 25 guys to win this thing, not one or a couple to win it. This kid has potential to be a great one, but when you're struggling you've got to sit back and relax, don't forget where you come from and do the same thing you've been doing your whole life.

"It's easy to play the game when you don't have to worry about anything, and that's what I told those guys out there," Guillen said. "Everybody has to pitch, everybody has to hit, it's not about one or two guys."

As for Beckham's struggles, leaving him mired in a 4-for-33 slump, Guillen believes the 23-year-old is mentally strong enough to handle any sort of prolonged slump. After all, he fought through a 2-for-28 start as a rookie.

A main concern for Guillen is to make sure Beckham doesn't try to carry this team upon his shoulders.

"I don't want him thinking about, 'I'm the man here, I gotta do this, hit .350, I gotta do this, I gotta be the MVP,'" Guillen said. "No, he's got to go out and play his game the way he did when he was a little kid. I don't think just Gordon, I think a few guys here are trying to do too much and are not getting to the point they want to get.

"Like I keep saying every day, you cannot come here and think you're carrying this ballclub. If anyone out there thinks they're going to carry this ballclub, they're wrong. I'm not going to say it's because they're not that good, but baseball is too tough to do that every day, day in and day out. [Beckham] is trying to do too much. He's desperate to try and do good. This game is a marathon, it's not a sprint."