After missing almost two months with a broken hamate bone in his left hand, White Sox second baseman Gordon Beckham is back.
It wasn’t really your typical DL stint and rehab assignment for Beckham, as he made news on two separate occasions down in Charlotte. First, we saw Beckham actually spend some time at shortstop in AAA, which drew a lot of different responses and thoughts from Sox fans. Also, Beckham experienced soreness in his left hand in the middle of his rehab stint, which caused him to sit down a few games.
Beckham should hopefully give the White Sox offense a bit of a much-needed boost, which is ironic considering how often criticized his hitting has been ever since 2009.
The Georgia product was hitting .316 in seven games before his injury, and in his eight game rehab stint, he hit .333 with five RBIs and a .757 OPS. Considering he hit at a .310 clip in Spring Training as well, it’s safe to say that Beckham has hit the ball well all season, so hopefully he keeps things rolling.
With Beckham back and in the lineup at second base though, some shuffling of the roster is needed. Tyler Greene was designated for assignment yesterday to open up a roster spot, which hopefully means no more errant throws from second base that end up in the first base dugout.
Despite having a few flashes of good hitting, Greene’s .222 average and porous defense off the bench won’t really be missed.
This also means that somebody has to go to the bench, and just from a numbers standpoint, the finger points at Jeff Keppinger. However, Robin Ventura could look at a platoon scenario with Keppinger at Conor Gillaspie at third base. Even though Keppinger is hitting for a lower average against left-handed pitchers this year than he is against right-handers (.222 compared to .232), Gillaspie is hitting just .192 against left-handers.
Given the fact that Gillaspie has struggled so much against southpaws, sitting him down against them in favor of Keppinger would be my best guess as to what Ventura will decide to go. I guess we’ll find out soon enough, as the White Sox face a left-hander tonight.
Regardless of what happens with the lineup, adding Gordon Beckham to it will do one thing for certain: improve the team defense. We all know how good Beckham has been at second base with the glove, and we all know how bad not only the team defense has been, but how bad the defense of Keppinger and Greene has been at the position.
Adding Beckham should, at the very least, substantially improve this team’s infield defense while also giving the offense another Major League-caliber bat in the lineup.