White Sox

'Locked in' Gordon Beckham likes playing third base

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'Locked in' Gordon Beckham likes playing third base

DETROIT — Gordon Beckham likes how playing third base this season has affected him in all aspects of the game.

A day after he turned in three spectacular defensive plays, the White Sox infielder said playing third has forced him to be more assertive and it has had some carry over to the plate. Beckham’s glove at the hot corner has earned rave reviews from the staff and coaches alike.

“It allows me to be more aggressive,” Beckham said. “Obviously you have to be a little more aggressive on defense, but I think it helps my offense too. That kind of mindset, an aggressive mindset, helps on the offensive end as well.”

[MORE: Ventura on Friday's controversial play: 'We all missed it']

He only has 13 plate appearances, but Beckham is off to a solid start with a .333/.385/.583 slash line, a homer and three RBIs. But what has been even more impressive to manager Robin Ventura is Beckham’s heads-up play and how evident it is over at third.

“I get a little more of the Gordon phenomenon that was here when he first came up, hearing about him, because he’s good,” Ventura said.

“He gets off the ball well. He’s got a strong arm. He made some great plays yesterday, not only just gloving, but the decision-making and things like that. I think there’s something to playing that side of the infield, where as soon as its hit, you have to react — it’s not sit back and think about it. And I think he’s better off sometimes being that kind of player.”

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Beckham likes that he has to be more alert than when he was at second base, where he has appeared in 632 of 762 career games. Playing all over the infield and returning to a White Sox clubhouse loaded with new faces has given Beckham a fresh start, he said.

“At second base, I feel like you can get a little bit lazy because you have more time,” Beckham said. “That kind of attitude is more of a passive type of attitude. Third base and shortstop, you have to really be aggressive with going to get balls.

“That’s kind of fun. If you are not in the game for that pitch, it might be hit really hard at you and you are going to miss it. You have to be locked in.”

Lucas Giolito’s top 10 games in a White Sox uniform

Lucas Giolito’s top 10 games in a White Sox uniform

Lucas Giolito had a transformative 2019, going from the pitcher with the worst statistics in baseball to the ace of the White Sox staff.

He’s only been on the South Side for a little more than two seasons, but he’s already turned in some impressive performances, many of them, unsurprisingly, from last season.

Click here to see Giolito's 10 best outings in a White Sox uniform.

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A.J. Reed, who played 14 games with the White Sox in 2019, retired

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USA TODAY

A.J. Reed, who played 14 games with the White Sox in 2019, retired

A.J. Reed, the one-time slugging prospect who made his way to the White Sox last season, retired earlier this month.

The news went unnoticed by many, though there it is on the International League's transactions page: Reed, a second-round draft pick in 2014, retired on March 4. He's 26 years old.

The White Sox picked Reed up on a waiver claim midway through last season, taking a flier on a guy who had no trouble racking up home runs in the minor leagues. He hit 34 of them playing at two levels of the Houston Astros organization in 2015, 34 more at Triple-A in 2017 and another 28 at Triple-A in 2018.

But Reed could never make it happen at the major league level, and that includes in the 49 plate appearances he got in just 14 games with the White Sox in 2019. He picked up only six hits, including one home run, and struck out a whopping 21 times.

Reed did manage a highlight in a White Sox uniform. He moved over from first base and pitched in relief during the ninth inning of an 11-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins, retiring all three batters he faced.

He played his final game with the White Sox on Aug. 1 and spent the remainder of the season in Triple-A Charlotte.

In the midst of another rebuilding season, the White Sox were in position to take that sort of a low-risk gamble on Reed and see if they could help him discover something he couldn't at the big league level in Houston. Fans weren't happy watching him struggle at the plate, but that's life in the middle of a rebuild.

Thanks to breakout seasons from so many of their young core players and a busy offseason of big-name veteran additions, the White Sox don't figure to be in such a position again for the foreseeable future.

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