Gordon Beckham Is Opening Eyes

Sox first round pick has caught Ozzie Guillen's attention

When spring training started, Ozzie Guillen's plan with first round pick Gordon Beckham was to just let the kid play shortstop and try to get him as many at bats as possible to see what the kid can do.  Even while most scouts and experts projected Beckham as an eventual third or second baseman in the Majors, Ozzie's line of thought was that it was too early to start moving the kid around.

Guillen's plan was to let Beckham play shortstop and just get his feet wet against big league pitching before sending him down to the minor leagues once the season started, but Beckham's play this spring has forced Guillen to rethink his strategy.

''He's been impressive,'' said Sox bench coach Joey Cora. ''The kid is not afraid. He's playing good defense and swinging the bat like he belongs. He is opening eyes, that's for sure.''

While Guillen and Cora would tell you that the second base battle is still between Chris Getz, Jayson Nix, and Brent Lillibridge, those three men may have another player to contend with.  Beckham has shown all spring that he's not going to have a very hard time adjusting to hitting in the Majors.  He only had three hits in his 13 at bats, but those three hits are all of the extra base variety with a double and two home runs.  He's also showed better range with the glove than the Sox thought he had.

Which is why it's no surprise that in their exhibition game today against Team Australia Beckham got the start at second base.  While Gordon is going to have to continue tearing the cover off the ball if he's going to make the team out of spring training, which isn't likely even if he does, it doesn't seem like White Sox fans will have to wait very long to see him in pinstripes.  It's possible that Beckham could come up sometime this summer, like Evan Longoria did for the Rays last year, and give the Sox a spark in the second half of the season.

Along with writing for NBCCHICAGO.com, Tom Fornelli can also be found contributing at FanHouse, SPORTSbyBROOKS, and his own Chicago sports blog Foul Balls

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